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Stem Cells International
Volume 2011, Article ID 704256, 9 pages
Review Article

Proteomic Definitions of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 326, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Received 4 August 2010; Accepted 17 January 2011

Academic Editor: Gerald A. Colvin

Copyright © 2011 Martin H. Maurer. 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.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are pluripotent cells isolated from the bone marrow and various other organs. They are able to proliferate and self-renew, as well as to give rise to progeny of at least the osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic lineages. Despite this functional definition, MSCs can also be defined by their expression of a distinct set of cell surface markers. In the current paper, studies investigating the proteome of human MSCs are reviewed with the aim to identify common protein markers of MSCs. The proteomic analysis of MSCs revealed a distinct set of proteins representing the basic molecular inventory, including proteins for (i) cell surface markers, (ii) the responsiveness to growth factors, (iii) the reuse of developmental signaling cascades in adult stem cells, (iv) the interaction with molecules of the extracellular matrix, (v) the expression of genes regulating transcription and translation, (vi) the control of the cell number, and (vii) the protection against cellular stress.