Differentiation of porcine mesenchymal stem cells into epithelial cells as a potential therapeutic application to facilitate epithelial regeneration

Kelsey Kokubun, Divya Pankajakshan, Min Jung Kim, Devendra K. Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Epithelial denudation is one of the characteristics of chronic asthma. To restore its functions, the airway epithelium has to rapidly repair the injuries and regenerate its structure and integrity. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the ability to differentiate into many cell lineages. However, the differentiation of MSCs into epithelial cells has not been fully studied. Here, we examined the differentiation of MSCs into epithelial cells using three different media compositions with various growth supplementations. The MSCs were isolated from porcine bone marrow by density gradient centrifugation. The isolated MSCs were CD11-CD34-CD45- CD44+CD90+ and CD105+ by immunostaining and flow cytometry. MSCs were stimulated with EpiGRO (Millipore), BEpiCM (ScienCell) and AECGM (PromoCell) media for 5 and 10days, and epithelial differentiation was assessed by qPCR (keratin 14, 18 and EpCAM), fluorometry (cytokeratin 7-8, cytokeratin 14-15-16-19 and EpCAM), western blot analysis (pancytokeratin, EpCAM) and flow cytometry (cytokeratin 7-8, cytokeratin 14-15-16-19 and EpCAM). The functional marker MUC1 was also assessed after 10days of air-liquid interface (ALI) culture in optimized media. Cells cultured in BEpiCM containing fibroblast growth factor and prostaglandin E2 showed the highest expression of the epithelial markers: CK7-8 (85.90%); CK-14-15-16-19 (10.14%); and EpCAM (64.61%). The cells also expressed functional marker MUC1 after ALI culture. The differentiated MSCs when cultured in BEpiCM medium ex vivo in a bioreactor on a decellularized trachea for 10days retained the epithelial-like phenotype. In conclusion, porcine bone marrow-derived MSCs demonstrate commitment to the epithelial lineage and might be a potential therapy for facilitating the repair of denuded airway epithelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E73-E83
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials

Cite this