The bursa subacromialis (BS) provides the gliding mechanism of the shoulder and regenerates itself after surgical removal. Thus we aimed explore the presence of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) within the human adult BS tissue and characterized the BS cells compared to MSCs from bone marrow (BMSCs) on a molecular level.
BS cells were isolated by collagenase digest from BS tissues derived from patients with degenerative rotator cuff tears, and BMSCs were recovered by adherent culture from bone-marrow of patients with osteoarthritis of the hip. BS cells and BMSCs were compared upon their potential to proliferate and differentiate along chondrogenic, osteogenic and adipogenic lineages under specific culture conditions. Expression profiles of markers associated with mesenchymal phenotypes were comparatively evaluated by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and whole genome array analyses.
BS cells and BMSCs appeared mainly fibroblastic and revealed almost similar surface antigen expression profiles, which was CD44(+), CD73(+), CD90(+), CD105(+), CD106(+), STRO-1(+), CD14(-), CD31(-), CD34(-), CD45(-), CD144(-). Array analyses revealed 1969 genes upregulated and 1184 genes downregulated in BS cells vs. BMSCs, indicating a high level of transcriptome similarity. After 3 weeks of differentiation culture, BS cells and BMSCs showed a similar strong chondrogenic, adipogenic and osteogenic potential, as shown by histological, immunohistochemical and RT-PCR analyses in contrast to the respective negative controls.
Our in vitro characterizations show that BS cells fulfill all characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells, and therefore merit further attention for the development of improved therapies for various shoulder pathologies.