Peault and his colleagues identified four distinct populations of stromal cells from adult abdominal subcutaneous fat and sorted these to homogeneity based on differential expression of CD34, CD45 and CD146. The research revealed the existence of cells localized within the walls of adipose tissue microvessels, which are endowed with high muscle regenerative ability.
Pericytes, identified on tissue sections and cell isolates by expression of CD146 and absence of CD34, generated by far the highest number of muscle fibers, when compared to the other cell populations, when transplanted into cardiotoxin-injured muscles of NOD-SCID mice. The long-term culture of pericytes did not compromise their muscle regenerative capacity, suggesting the expandability of these cells ex vivo for clinical use.
These results suggest that the adipose tissue-derived pericyte is an attractive candidate for the cell therapy of muscle diseases, and also indicates the likely vascular origin of the elusive fat-derived stem cells.
Publication: Molecular Therapy (2007) 15 5, 867-877