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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 508216, 9 pages
Research Article

Expression of Mesenchymal Stem Cells-Related Genes and Plasticity of Aspirated Follicular Cells Obtained from Infertile Women

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Šlajmerjeva 3, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Department of Molecular Diagnostics, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, Zaloška 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Received 23 November 2013; Revised 21 January 2014; Accepted 22 January 2014; Published 3 March 2014

Academic Editor: Jeroen Krijgsveld

Copyright © 2014 Edo Dzafic et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


After removal of oocytes for in vitro fertilization, follicular aspirates which are rich in somatic follicular cells are discarded in daily medical practice. However, there is some evidence that less differentiated cells with stem cell characteristics are present among aspirated follicular cells (AFCs). The aim of this study was to culture AFCs in vitro and to analyze their gene expression profile. Using the RT2 Profiler PCR array, we investigated the expression profile of 84 genes related to stemness, mesenchymal stem cells (MCSs), and cell differentiation in AFCs enriched by hypoosmotic protocol from follicular aspirates of infertile women involved in assisted reproduction programme in comparison with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) and fibroblasts. Altogether the expression of 57 genes was detected in AFCs: 16 genes (OCT4, CD49f, CD106, CD146, CD45, CD54, IL10, IL1B, TNF, VEGF, VWF, HDAC1, MITF, RUNX2, PPARG, and PCAF) were upregulated and 20 genes (FGF2, CASP3, CD105, CD13, CD340, CD73, CD90, KDR, PDGFRB, BDNF, COL1A1, IL6, MMP2, NES, NUDT6, BMP6, SMURF2, BMP4, GDF5, and JAG1) were downregulated in AFCs when compared with BM-MSCs. The genes which were upregulated in AFCs were mostly related to MSCs and connected with ovarian function, and differed from those in fibroblasts. The cultured AFCs with predominating granulosa cells were successfully in vitro differentiated into adipogenic-, osteogenic-, and pancreatic-like cells. The upregulation of some MSC-specific genes and in vitro differentiation into other types of cells indicated a subpopulation of AFCs with specific stemness, which was not similar to those of BM-MSCs or fibroblasts.