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      The effect of temperature on the viability of human mesenchymal stem cells

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          Impaction allograft with cement is a common technique used in revision hip surgeries for the last 20 years. However, its clinical results are inconsistent. Recent studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) seeded onto allograft can enhance bone formation. This in vitro study investigates whether the increase in temperature related to the polymerisation of bone cement will affect the viability of human MSCs.


          The viability of human MSCs was measured after incubating them at temperatures of 38°C, 48°C and 58°C; durations 45 seconds, 80 seconds and 150 seconds. A control group was kept at 37°C and 5% carbon dioxide for the duration of the investigation (7 days). During the course of the study the human MSCs were analysed for cell metabolic activity using the alamarBlue™ assay, cell viability using both Trypan Blue dye exclusion and calcein staining under fluorescent microscopy, and necrosis and apoptosis using Annexin V and propidium iodide for flow cytometric analysis. A one-way analysis of variance with a priori Dunnett’s test was used to indicate the differences between the treatment groups, when analysed against the control. This identified conditions with a significant difference in cell metabolic activity (alamarBlue™) and cell viability (Trypan Blue).


          Results showed that cell metabolism was not severely affected up to 48°C/150 seconds, while cells in the 58°C group died. Similar results were shown using Trypan Blue and calcein analysis for cell viability. No significant difference in apoptosis and necrosis of the cells was observed when human MSCs treated at 48°C/150 seconds were compared with the control group.


          The study suggests that human MSCs seeded onto allograft can be exposed to temperatures up to 48°C for 150 seconds. Exposure to this temperature for this time period is unlikely to occur during impaction allograft surgery when cement is used. Therefore, in many situations, the addition of human MSCs to cemented impaction grafting may be carried out without detrimental effects to the cells. Furthermore, previous studies have shown that this can enhance new bone formation and repair the defects in revision situations.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Multilineage potential of adult human mesenchymal stem cells.

          Human mesenchymal stem cells are thought to be multipotent cells, which are present in adult marrow, that can replicate as undifferentiated cells and that have the potential to differentiate to lineages of mesenchymal tissues, including bone, cartilage, fat, tendon, muscle, and marrow stroma. Cells that have the characteristics of human mesenchymal stem cells were isolated from marrow aspirates of volunteer donors. These cells displayed a stable phenotype and remained as a monolayer in vitro. These adult stem cells could be induced to differentiate exclusively into the adipocytic, chondrocytic, or osteocytic lineages. Individual stem cells were identified that, when expanded to colonies, retained their multilineage potential.
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            Comparison of trypan blue dye exclusion and fluorometric assays for mammalian cell viability determinations.

            A hemocytometer-based trypan blue dye exclusion cell quantitation and viability assay was compared with a similar assay using simultaneous fluorometric staining with fluorescein diacetate and propidium iodide. Viable and nonviable cell densities were measured, and culture viability was calculated both during the normal growth cycle of a murine hybridoma and in response to the application of millimolar concentrations of either tert-butyl hydroperoxide or ferrous iron. During the early phase of rapid hybridoma cell growth, assay-based differences in viable cell density were not significant. As the culture aged, the trypan blue dye exclusion assay significantly overestimated cell viability, thereby underestimating nonviable cell density and yielding an erroneous estimation of the overall viability of the culture. Because of its lack of ambiguity in the identification of stained, nonviable cells and its resulting increased accuracy in the estimation of culture viability, the fluorometric assay was considered a better choice for the evaluation of cell viability.
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              A novel one-step, highly sensitive fluorometric assay to evaluate cell-mediated cytotoxicity.

              In this study, a fluorometric method using alamarBlue has been developed for detecting cell-mediated cytotoxicity in vitro. AlamarBlue is a non-toxic metabolic indicator of viable cells that becomes fluorescent upon mitochondrial reduction. Specific lysis of targets by effector cells is quantified by comparing the total number of viable cells in wells containing effector and targets together, with wells where target and effector cells were separately seeded. Cell-mediated cytotoxic activity by alloreactive T cells and natural killer cells has been detected using a novel application of the alamarBlue technique. The assay that we have developed to detect cell-mediated cytotoxicity is extremely sensitive and specific and requires a significant lower number of effector cells than the standard 51Cr assay. Since alamarBlue reagent is non-toxic to cells and the assay can be performed under sterile conditions, effector cells may be recovered at the end for further analysis or cell expansion, if desired. Direct comparison of cell-mediated cytotoxicity measured by the alamarBlue method with the standard 51Cr release assay revealed that the former method is as specific and more sensitive than the conventional assay. Moreover, very small inter and intra-assay variations have been observed for alamarBlue cytotoxicity assays. In conclusion, this study shows that the alamarBlue assay is an extremely sensitive, economical, simple and non-toxic procedure to evaluate cell-mediated cytotoxicity that yields accurate results using a limited number of effector cells. Furthermore, since this assay is a one-step procedure, and does not involve any risk for the personnel, it may be useful to analyze automatically cell-mediated cytotoxicity in a large number of samples.

                Author and article information

                Stem Cell Res Ther
                Stem Cell Res Ther
                Stem Cell Research & Therapy
                BioMed Central
                15 November 2013
                : 4
                : 6
                : 139
                [1 ]Imperial College School of Medicine, Imperial College London, South Kensington, Exhibition Road, SW7 2AZ, UK
                [2 ]RAFT Institute of Plastic Surgery, Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 2RN, UK
                [3 ]UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Brockley Hill, Stanmore, HA7 4LP, UK
                Copyright © 2013 Reissis et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Molecular medicine


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