Résumé : Human adult stem cells (hASCs) have become an attractive source for autologous cell transplantation, tissue engineering, developmental biology, and the generation of human-based alternative in vitro models. Among the 3 germ cell layers, the mesoderm is the origin of today's most widely used and characterized hASC populations. A variety of isolated nonhematopoietic mesoderm-derived stem cell populations exist, and all of them show important differences in terms of function, efficacy, and differentiation potential both in vivo and in vitro. To better understand whether the intrinsic properties of these cells contribute to the overall differentiation potential of hASCs, we compared the global gene expression profiles of 4 mesoderm-derived stem cell populations: human adipose tissue-derived stromal cells, human bone marrow-derived stromal cells (hBMSCs), human (fore)skin-derived precursor cells (hSKPs), and human Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hWJs). Significant differences in gene expression profiles were detected between distinct stem cell types. hSKPs predominantly expressed genes involved in neurogenesis, skin, and bone development, whereas hWJs and, to some extent, hBMSCs showed an increased expression of genes involved in cardiovascular and liver development. Interestingly, the observed differential gene expression of distinct hASCs could be linked to existing differentiation data in which hASCs were differentiated toward specific cell types. As such, our data suggest that the intrinsic gene expression of the undifferentiated stem cells has an important impact on their overall differentiation potential as well as their application in stem cell-based research. Yet, the factors that define these intrinsic properties remain to be determined.