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The heterogeneity of cell subtypes from a primary culture of human amniotic fluid


Heterogeneous human amniotic fluid contains various cell types. Herein, we report on the possibility of simultaneously isolating three subtypes of cells from one primary culture. Using a stainless steel instrument named a colony poculum, two of the three cell subtypes could be efficiently cultured, and these were further characterized. The results indicated that these two cell subtypes had different morphologies and were characterized by different cell marker expression profiles, including the differential expression of CD105, CD117 and EBAF. Furthermore, their gene expression array data revealed their different gene expression profiles. Although both cell types expressed several embryonic stem cell-specific markers, they were non-tumorigenic in vivo. This paper not only provides new insight into the heterogeneity of human amniotic fluid, it also presents a simple yet efficient cell isolation method. These results will contribute to the thorough investigation of the properties and potential future applications of human amniotic fluid-derived cells.



amniotic fluid-specific


dipeptidyl aminopeptidase

EC cells:

embryonal carcinoma cells

EG cells:

embryonic germ cells

ES cells:

embryonic stem cells


epitheloid type


fluorescein isothiocyanate


fibroblastic type


gene ontology


human amniotic fluid-derived cells


phosphate-buffered saline




room temperature


reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction


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Correspondence to Junmei Zhou or Fang Chen.

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Zhang, S., Geng, H., Xie, H. et al. The heterogeneity of cell subtypes from a primary culture of human amniotic fluid. Cell Mol Biol Lett 15, 424–439 (2010).

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Key words

  • Human amniotic fluid
  • Cell subtypes
  • Isolation
  • Colony poculum