Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 31, Issue 8, pp 959–974 | Cite as

Putative mesenchymal stem cells isolated from adult human ovaries

  • Martin Stimpfel
  • Petra Cerkovnik
  • Srdjan Novakovic
  • Ales Maver
  • Irma Virant-Klun
Stem Cell Biology



The purpose of this study was to show that healthy adult human ovaries can be a source of cells showing typical MSCs characteristics under in vitro conditions.

Methods and results

The cells, which were isolated from ovarian cortex tissue and named putative ovarian mesenchymal stem cells (PO-MSCs), were compared to bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) and to adult human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). The results of a gene expression analysis using the Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell RT² Profiler™ PCR Array revealed that PO-MSCs were different than fibroblasts. They expressed most of the analyzed genes as BM-MSCs, although some genes were differentially expressed. However, the heterogeneity of PO-MSCs samples was revealed. The PO-MSCs expressed the characteristic genes related to MSCs, such as CD105, CD44, CD90, M-CAM, CD73 and VCAM1. In addition, the expression of markers CD44, CD90, M-CAM and STRO-1 was confirmed in PO-MSCs using immunocytochemistry. The PO-MSCs showed multipotent character, since they were able to differentiate into the cells of adipogenic, osteogenic, neural and pancreatic lineage.


Healthy adult human ovaries can harbour an interesting population of cells showing typical MSCs characteristics under in vitro conditions and for this reason we named these cells putative MSCs. These cells express genes encoding main MSCs markers and have an interesting differential potential. Based on these results, we propose PO-MSCs as a novel type of MSCs which share some similarities with BM-MSCs. Nevertheless they show distinct and specific characteristics and are not fibroblasts.


Ovary Mesenchymal stem cells Bone marrow Gene expression Multipotency 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Branko Cvjeticanin, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, for providing the ovarian tissue biopsies, to all patients who donated ovarian tissue for this research, to Dr. Elvira Malicev and Prof. Primoz Rozman, the Blood Transfusion Centre of Ljubljana for providing flow-cytometry analysis, to all the colleagues at the Reproductive Unit of our department and to the Slovenian Research Agency (grant J3-4195 to Dr. Irma Virant-Klun) for financial support.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

10815_2014_254_MOESM1_ESM.doc (42 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 42 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Stimpfel
    • 1
  • Petra Cerkovnik
    • 2
  • Srdjan Novakovic
    • 2
  • Ales Maver
    • 3
  • Irma Virant-Klun
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity Medical Centre LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Department of Molecular DiagnosticsInstitute of Oncology LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Genetics, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity Medical Centre LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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