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Open Access Research article

Different culture media affect growth characteristics, surface marker distribution and chondrogenic differentiation of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells

Sebastien Hagmann1, Babak Moradi1, Sebastian Frank1, Thomas Dreher1, Peer Wolfgang Kämmerer2, Wiltrud Richter3 and Tobias Gotterbarm1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopedics, Trauma Surgery and Spinal Cord Injury, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany Schlierbacher Landstrasse 200a, 69118 Heidelberg, Germany

2 Maxillofacial and Plastic Surgery, University Medical Center, Mainz, Germany

3 Research Center for Experimental Orthopedics, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:223  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-223

Published: 30 July 2013



Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) play an important role in modern tissue engineering, while distinct variations of culture media compositions and supplements have been reported. Because MSCs are heterogeneous regarding their regenerative potential and their surface markers, these parameters were compared in four widely used culture media compositions.


MSCs were isolated from bone marrow and expanded in four established cell culture media. MSC yield/1000 MNCs, passage time and growth index were observed. In P4, typical MSC surface markers were analysed by fluorescence cytometry. Additionally, chondrogenic, adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation potential were evaluated.


Growth index and P0 cell yield varied importantly between the media. The different expansion media had a significant influence on the expression of CD10, CD90, CD105, CD140b CD146 and STRO-1. While no significant differences were observed regarding osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation, chondrogenic differentiation was superior in medium A as reflected by GAG/DNA content.


The choice of expansion medium can have a significant influence on growth, differentiation potential and surface marker expression of mesenchymal stromal cells, which is of fundamental importance for tissue engineering procedures.

Mesenchymal stromal cells; Expansion media; Surface markers; Osteogenic differentiation; Chondrogenic differentiation; Adipogenic differentiation