Human trabecular bone-derived cells (HTBs) have been used for many years as osteoblast progenitors. In this study we tested whether HTBs have stem cell characteristics; that is, whether they are pluripotent and able to self-renew. We show that HTBs readily differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and adipocytes if subjected to the appropriate differentiating conditions. Importantly, differentiation into these three lineages is maintained in single cell clones derived by limiting dilution, following expansion over more than 20 cumulative population doublings. We conclude that cultures of HTBs are equivalent to cultures of "mesenchymal stem cells" (MSCs) isolated from bone marrow. © 2002 by Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
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