Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 4437–4441 | Cite as

Addressing the impact of different fetal bovine serum percentages on mesenchymal stem cells biological performance

  • Ramada R. KhasawnehEmail author
  • Ahmed Hesham Al Sharie
  • Ejlal Abu-El Rub
  • Abdullah Omar Serhan
  • Hayam Nizar Obeidat
Original Article


Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are presently on the top of hierarchy in the field of stem cell therapy, due to their miraculous therapeutic abilities in diminishing the symptoms of many chronic diseases and initiating regeneration and repair for various damaged tissues and organs. The foremost initial step to reach high success rate in any MSCs based study is the optimization of culture growth media by establishing a suitable fetal bovine serum (FBS) percentage that suits the purpose of MSCs based experiment. Choosing the suitable FBS percentage is a controversial issue and merely depends on the researchers experience and suggested recommendations by the suppliers. Despite the huge improvements in overall MSCs investigating approaches, there are no definite protocols that set up a range of FBS percentages that can be followed. Toward achieving this objective, we evaluate in the present report the effect of using various FBS percentages (5–20%) added to DMEM low glucose media, on the biological behaviour of MSCs. Growing MSCs in high FBS percentages containing culture media (15% and 20% FBS) increase the proliferation and expansion rate of MSCs, although it decreases the immunosuppressive properties. On the other hand, adding low FBS percentage (7% FBS) to MSCs culture media enhanced the immunosuppression characteristics of MSCs, even though the proliferation rate was moderately reduced. 7% FBS is the cut off percentage that can be used without negatively altering major MSCs biological properties in which using 5% FBS will cause a tremendous decrease in the proliferation capacity and immunosuppressive properties. This report may assist other researchers in choosing appropriate FBS percentage when preparing MSCs culture media that serve the purpose of their MSCs based studies.


Human BM-MSCs Fetal bovine serum (FBS) Passages IL-10 IDO Proliferation Immunosuppression 



This study was funded by a grant from the deanship of Research at Yarmouk University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Dahl JA et al (2008) Genetic and epigenetic instability of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells expanded in autologous serum or fetal bovine serum. Int J Dev Biol 52(8):1033–1042CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Karantalis V, Hare JM (2015) Use of mesenchymal stem cells for therapy of cardiac disease. Circ Res 116(8):1413–1430CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Campagnoli C (2001) Identification of mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells in human first-trimester fetal blood, liver, and bone marrow. Blood 98(8):2396–2402CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Uccelli A, Moretta L, Pistoia V (2008) Mesenchymal stem cells in health and disease. Nat Rev Immunol 8(9):726–736CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Abu-El-Rub E et al (2019) Hypoxia-induced 26S proteasome dysfunction increases immunogenicity of mesenchymal stem cells. Cell Death Dis 10(2):90CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kharaziha P et al (2009) Improvement of liver function in liver cirrhosis patients after autologous mesenchymal stem cell injection: a phase I-II clinical trial. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 21(10):1199–1205CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bang OY et al (2005) Autologous mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in stroke patients. Ann Neurol 57(6):874–882CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Le Blanc K et al (2008) Mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of steroid-resistant, severe, acute graft-versus-host disease: a phase II study. The Lancet 371(9624):1579–1586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Adak S, Mukherjee S, Sen D (2017) Mesenchymal stem cell as a potential therapeutic for inflammatory bowel disease—myth or reality? Curr Stem Cell Res Ther 12(8):644–657CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Calonge M et al (2018) A proof-of-concept clinical trial using mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of corneal epithelial stem cell deficiency. Transl Res 206:18–40CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Trounson A, McDonald C (2015) Stem cell therapies in clinical trials: progress and challenges. Cell Stem Cell 17(1):11–22CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ullah I, Subbarao RB, Rho GJ (2015) Human mesenchymal stem cells—current trends and future prospective. Biosci Rep 35(2):e00191CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Barberi T et al (2005) Derivation of multipotent mesenchymal precursors from human embryonic stem cells. PLoS Med 2(6):e161CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bieback K et al (2009) Human alternatives to fetal bovine serum for the expansion of mesenchymal stromal cells from bone marrow. Stem Cells 27(9):2331–2341CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sareen N et al (2018) Early passaging of mesenchymal stem cells does not instigate significant modifications in their immunological behavior. Stem Cell Res Ther 9(1):121CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Jung S et al (2012) Ex vivo expansion of human mesenchymal stem cells in defined serum-free media. Stem Cells Int 2012:123030CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of MedicineYarmouk UniversityIrbidJordan
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineJordan University of Science and TechnologyIrbidJordan
  3. 3.Department of Physiology and PathophysiologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations