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Stem Cells International
Volume 2018, Article ID 1310904, 10 pages
Research Article

Efficient Nonviral Transfection of Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Shown Using Placental Growth Factor Overexpression

Centre for Biologics Evaluation, Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence should be addressed to Jessie R. Lavoie; ac.adanac@eioval.eissej

Received 4 June 2018; Revised 28 September 2018; Accepted 10 October 2018; Published 24 December 2018

Guest Editor: Karim Benabdellah

Copyright © 2018 Winston Y. Cheung 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.


Background. Human mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (hMSCs) hold great therapeutic potential due to their immunomodulatory and tissue regenerative properties. Enhancement of biological features of hMSCs by transfection has become a focus of investigation for cell- and gene-based therapies. However, many of the current transient transfection methods result in either low transfection efficiency or high cytotoxicity. Methods. In order to find a transfection method that would address the current issues of low transfection efficiency and high cytotoxicity, 6 commercially available cationic lipid and polymer reagents were tested on human bone marrow-derived MSCs (hBM-MSCs) using GFP as a reporter gene. One transfection method using TransIT-2020 was selected and tested with an emphasis on cell quality (viability, identity, and yield), as well as efficacy with a human placental growth factor (PlGF) plasmid. Results. TransIT-2020 yielded the highest fluorescence signal per cell out of the methods that did not decrease cell recovery. Transfecting GFP to 5 hBM-MSC donors using TransIT-2020 yielded 24–36% GFP-expressing cells with a viability of 85–96%. hBM-MSC identity was unaffected as CD90, CD105, and CD73 markers were retained (>95%+) after transfection. When this method was applied to PlGF expression, there was up to a 220-fold increase in secretion. Both growth and secretion of PlGF in overexpressing hBM-MSC were sustained over 7 days, confirming the sustainability and applicability of the TransIT-2020 transfection system. Discussion. We report a simple and efficient method for transient transfection that has not been reported for hBM-MSCs, encompassing high levels of plasmid expression without significant changes to fundamental hBM-MSC characteristics.