Characteristics of Nasal Septal Cartilage–Derived Progenitor Cells during Prolonged Cultivation

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To produce alternate cell sources for tissue regeneration, human nasal septal cartilage–derived progenitor cells (NSPs) were tested to identify whether these cells meet the criteria of cartilage progenitor cells. We also evaluated the effects of prolonged cultivation on the characteristics of NSPs.

Study Design

In vitro study.


Academic research laboratory.


NSPs were isolated from discarded human nasal septal cartilage. NSPs were cultured for 10 passages. The expression of septal progenitor cell surface markers was assessed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Cell proliferation was measured with a cell-counting kit. Cytokine secretion was analyzed with multiplex immunoassays. Chondrogenic differentiation of NSPs without differentiation induction was analyzed with type II collagen immunohistochemistry. Cartilage-specific protein expression was evaluated by Western blotting. Under osteo- and adipodifferentiation media, 2 lineage differentiation potentials were evaluated by histology and gene expression analysis.


Surface epitope analysis revealed that NSPs are positive for mesenchymal stem cells markers and negative for hematopoietic cell markers. Cultured NSPs showed sufficient cell expansion and chondrogenic potential, as demonstrated by immunostaining and expression of cartilage-specific protein. IL-6, IL-8, and transforming growth factor ß were secreted by over 200 pg/mL. The osteo- and adipodifferentiation potentials of NSPs were identified by histology and specific gene expression. The aforementioned characteristics were not influenced by prolonged cultivation.


NSPs represent an initial step toward creating a cell source from surgically discarded tissue that may prove useful in cartilage regeneration.

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