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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1479137, 7 pages
Research Article

Maintenance of a Schwann-Like Phenotype in Differentiated Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Requires the Synergistic Action of Multiple Growth Factors

1Blond McIndoe Laboratories, Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
2Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, Turkey
3Department of Plastic Surgery & Burns, University Hospitals of South Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Adam J. Reid

Received 7 April 2017; Accepted 16 May 2017; Published 16 July 2017

Academic Editor: Marco A. Velasco-Velazquez

Copyright © 2017 Alice E. Mortimer 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.


Differentiating human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) towards Schwann cells produces an unstable phenotype when stimulating factors are withdrawn. Here, we set out to examine the role of glial growth factor 2 (GGF-2) in the maintenance of Schwann-like cells. Following ASC differentiation to Schwann-like cells, stimulating factors were withdrawn such that cells either remained in media supplemented with all stimulating factors, GGF-2 alone, or underwent complete withdrawal of all factors. Furthermore, each stimulating factor was also removed from the growth medium individually. At 72 hours, gene (qRT-PCR) and protein (ELISA) expression of key Schwann cell factors were quantified and cell morphology was analysed. Cells treated with GGF-2 alone reverted to a stem cell morphology and did not stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), regardless of the concentration of GGF-2 in the growth medium. However, GGF-2 alone increased the expression of Krox20, the main transcription factor involved in myelination, relative to those cells treated with all stimulating factors. Cells lacking fibroblast growth factor were unable to maintain a Schwann-like morphology, and those lacking forskolin exhibited a downregulation in BDNF production. Therefore, it is likely that the synergistic action of multiple growth factors is required to maintain Schwann-like phenotype in differentiated ASCs.