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New publication: Donor’s weight affects adipose stromal/stem cell properties – Implications for cell therapies

Adipose stromal/stem cells (ASC) are attractive candidates for many cell therapy applications. Several studies have shown that donor’s overweight or obesity affect ASCs’ properties. Previous studies suggest that ASC from overweight or obese donors are not suitable e.g., for cell therapies for inflammatory diseases or for bone tissue engineering applications.

Now, a publication studying the effect of ASC donor weight has been published by CoeBoC’s Adult Stem Cell group in collaboration with Obesity research unit in University of Helsinki. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of donor weight on ASCs’ properties utilizing cells isolated from monozygotic weight-discordant (WD) twin pairs while controlling the genetic variation between leaner and heavier groups. Results showed that weight did not affect the proliferation, immunogenicity, osteogenic differentiation, or mesenchymal stem cell-like immunophenotype. However, higher weight of the WD twin increased adipogenic differentiation, expression of inflammation marker TNF and immunosuppression capacity and decreased angiogenic potential and expression of pericyte marker CD146 compared with leaner co-twin.

Based on our results, even a small difference in body mass index (BMI) in metabolically healthy donors affects some of the ASC characteristics. Regarding to future cell therapies, the weight of the donor should be considered as a selection criterion, especially for allogeneic cell therapies utilizing ASC.

Moreover, the results can be utilized in the next steps in the development of obesity-in-chip in Centre of Excellence, CoE-BoC (

The research was funded by Business Finland, Academy of Finland, Competitive State Research Financing of the Expert Responsibility area of Tampere University Hospital, Finnish Cultural Foundation and Tampere University Graduate School for Medicine and Life Sciences, Helsinki University Hospital funds, the Finnish Diabetes Research Foundation, the Orion Foundation, the Paulo Foundation, the Finnish Medical Foundation and the Maud Kuistila Foundation, the Gyllenberg Foundation, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the University of Helsinki and the Government Research Funds through Helsinki University Hospital.

Juntunen M, Heinonen S, Huhtala H, Rissanen A, Kaprio J, Kuismanen K, Pietiläinen KH, Miettinen S, Patrikoski M. Evaluation of the effect of donor weight on adipose stromal/stem cell characteristics by using weight-discordant monozygotic twin pairs. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021 Sep 26;12(1):516. doi: 10.1186/s13287-021-02587-0.

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