Term amniotic fluid: An unexploited reserve of mesenchymal stromal cells for reprogramming and potential cell therapy applications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are currently being evaluated in numerous pre-clinical and clinical cell-based therapy studies. Furthermore, there is an increasing interest in exploring alternative uses of these cells in disease modelling, pharmaceutical screening, and regenerative medicine by applying reprogramming technologies. However, the limited availability of MSCs from various sources restricts their use. Term amniotic fluid has been proposed as an alternative source of MSCs. Previously, only low volumes of term fluid and its cellular constituents have been collected, and current knowledge of the MSCs derived from this fluid is limited. In this study, we collected amniotic fluid at term using a novel collection system and evaluated amniotic fluid MSC content and their characteristics, including their feasibility to undergo cellular reprogramming. Methods: Amniotic fluid was collected at term caesarean section deliveries using a closed catheter-based system. Following fluid processing, amniotic fluid was assessed for cellularity, MSC frequency, in-vitro proliferation, surface phenotype, differentiation, and gene expression characteristics. Cells were also reprogrammed to the pluripotent stem cell state and differentiated towards neural and haematopoietic lineages. Results: The average volume of term amniotic fluid collected was approximately 0.4 litres per donor, containing an average of 7 million viable mononuclear cells per litre, and a CFU-F content of 15 per 100,000 MNCs. Expanded CFU-F cultures showed similar surface phenotype, differentiation potential, and gene expression characteristics to MSCs isolated from traditional sources, and showed extensive expansion potential and rapid doubling times. Given the high proliferation rates of these neonatal source cells, we assessed them in a reprogramming application, where the derived induced pluripotent stem cells showed multigerm layer lineage differentiation potential. Conclusions: The potentially large donor base from caesarean section deliveries, the high yield of term amniotic fluid MSCs obtainable, the properties of the MSCs identified, and the suitability of the cells to be reprogrammed into the pluripotent state demonstrated these cells to be a promising and plentiful resource for further evaluation in bio-banking, cell therapy, disease modelling, and regenerative medicine applications.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • Biobanking, Caesarean section deliveries, Cell-based therapy, Cellular reprogramming, Mesenchymal stromal cells, Pluripotency, Regenerative medicine, Term amniotic fluid
Original languageEnglish
Article number190
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 25
Publication categoryResearch