Long-term culture of human bone marrow stromal cells in the presence of basic fibroblast growth factor

Lisa I. Oliver, Daniel B. Rifkin, Janice Gabrilove, Melanie Jane Hannocks, E. Lynette Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a potent mitogen for human bone marrow stromal cells. Normally, large numbers of human bone marrow stromal cells are difficult to obtain. However, nanogram/ml concentrations of bFGF stimulate the growth of passaged bone marrow stromal cells both in media formulated for optimal growth of stromal cells and in a simple mixture of RPMI-1640 and 10% fetal calf serum facilitating the successive expansion of stromal cells through multiple passages. bFGF also greatly accelerates the formation of a primary stromal cell layer following inoculation of newly harvested bone marrow cells into dishes. In the presence of bFGF, the stromal cells attain high densities, lose their contact inhibition and grow in multilayered sheets. Heparin greatly potentiates the stimulatory effect of low concentrations of bFGF. The effects of bFGF are fully reversible: cells cultured in the presence of this factor for multiple passages revert to normal growth rates following trypsinization and subculture. A short (4 h) exposure of the cells to bFGF elicits profound growth stimulation. This supports the hypothesis that this factor binds to glycosaminogly-cans in the cell matrix which act as a storage reservoir for this cytokine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-236
Number of pages6
JournalGrowth Factors
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Basic fibroblast growth factor
  • Bone marrow stromal cells


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