Basement membrane molecule expression attendant to chondrogenesis by nucleus pulposus cells and mesenchymal stem cells

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Abstract

Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represent an autologous cell source for nucleus pulposus (NP) tissue engineering and regeneration. Although studies have demonstrated the ability of MSCs to differentiate to NP-like chondrocytic cells, few have comparatively studied the matrix synthesis and composition of the cartilaginous tissue formed in vitro from both cell types, particularly with respect to the expression of basement membrane (BM) molecules. The objective of this study was to evaluate chondrogenesis and expression of BM molecules, laminin and type IV collagen, in monolayer and in pellet cultures of caprine NP cells and MSCs. Both cell types demonstrated comparable levels of chondrogenesis, indicated by the percentage of chondrocytic cells, and the amounts of glycosaminoglycan and type II collagen. Laminin and type IV collagen were expressed intracellularly by NP cells and MSCs cultured in monolayer. During chondrogenesis in pellet cultures, the deposition of BM molecules in NP and MSC pellets followed an orderly spatiotemporal shift in pattern from a diffuse territorial and interterritorial distribution to a defined pericellular localization, as seen in normal adult NP. These results inform the use of MSCs for NP regeneration and suggest the possible involvement of certain BM molecules in chondrogenesis and cartilage regeneration.

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