Chondrogenic differentiation of murine and human mesenchymal stromal cells in a hyaluronic acid scaffold: differences in gene expression and cell morphology

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2006 Jun 1;77(3):497-506. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.30632.


Chondrogenesis is a complex process characterized by a sequence of different steps that start with the condensation of the cells, followed by the expression of specific components, such as collagens and proteoglycans. We evaluated in vitro chondrogenic differentiation of C3H10T1/2 murine mesenchymal cells and compared them with human mesenchymal stromal cells (h-MSCs) in a hyaluronic acid scaffold. We analyzed (from day 0 to day 28) cellular morphology, proliferation, and chondrogenic/osteogenic gene expression at different time points. Our data demonstrate that, during chondrogenic differentiation, murine cells proliferate both in the absence and presence of TGFbeta, while h-MSCs require the presence of this activating factor. Murine cells, even if viable, differentiate on hyaluronan scaffold, maintain a fibroblastic morphology, and form a capsule outside the scaffold. At the mRNA level, murine cells showed a decrease in collagen type I combined with a significant increase in collagen type II (from day 0), and aggrecan (on day 28), as found for h-MSCs. Immunohistochemical data confirmed that chondrogenic differentiation of murine cells, induced by TGFbeta, occurred only in some restricted areas inside the scaffold that were positive to collagen type II, but did not show a cartilage-like tissue structure, as we had found using h-MSCs. These data demonstrate that C3H10T1/2 murine cells, widely used as a chondrogenic model, show a different sequence of chondrogenic events in hyaluronic acid scaffold, compared with primary h-MSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Cartilage / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Chondrogenesis / physiology
  • Gene Expression / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / physiology


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hyaluronic Acid