Author(s): Dexheimer V, Frank S, Richter W
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Abstract During embryonic cartilage development, proliferation and differentiation are tightly linked with a transient cell cycle arrest observed during determination and before main extracellular matrix production. Aim of this study was to address whether these steps are imitated during in vitro differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and are crucial for a proper chondrogenesis. Human MSCs were expanded in distinct media and subjected to pellet culture in chondrogenic medium. Cells were labeled with 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridin (IdU) or treated with mitomycin C at various time points during culture. Apoptosis was detected by cleaved caspase 3. Proliferation rate of expanded MSCs at start of pellet culture showed a positive correlation with chondrogenesis according to DNA content, proteoglycan deposition, collagen type II content, and final pellet size. Evenly distributed IdU signals at day 1 diminished and became restricted primarily to the periphery by day 3. Between days 10 and 21, IdU-positive cells were detected throughout coinciding with collagen type II positivity. Little IdU incorporation occurred after day 21 and in areas of strong matrix deposition. DNA content decreased and apoptosis was detected up to day 14. Irreversible growth arrest by mitomycin C fully blocked chondrogenic differentiation and seemed to arrest differentiation at the stage reached at treatment. In conclusion, chondrogenesis involved a transient proliferation phase appearing simultaneously with start of collagen type II deposition and growth was crucial for proper chondrogenesis. Growth and differentiation steps, thus, seemed closely coordinated and resembled, with respect to proliferation, stages known from embryonic cartilage development. Stimulation of proliferation and prevention of early apoptosis are attractive goals to further improve MSC chondrogenesis.
This article was published in Stem Cells Dev
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy