Electroporation is a common method of gene transfer that has recently been used to efficiently transfect mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells (MSCs); however, the electrical stimulus has the potential to alter cell state. This study examines possible negative effects of electroporation of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived MSCs including, loss of potency or induction of differentiation. Immunofluorescence and PCR were used to quantify protein and RNA expression of CD73 (an MSC marker) and markers of mature mesenchymal cell types following electroporation. The relative fraction of cells expressing CD73 protein was not altered in cells exposed to a 20 ms pulse at 1000 V or 1500 V compared to controls even after three passages, suggesting MSCs retain multipotency following electroporation. In addition, RNA expression of markers indicative of mature cells of bone, fat and cardiac muscle did not differ from unmanipulated controls soon after electroporation. Taken together, these results indicate electroporation under conditions favorable for MSC transfection does not significantly alter stem cell state.
- Mesenchymal stem cells
- Stem cells