Mesenchymal stem cells derived from synovium, meniscus, anterior cruciate ligament, and articular chondrocytes share similar gene expression profiles

J Orthop Res. 2009 Apr;27(4):435-41. doi: 10.1002/jor.20786.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be obtained from various tissues, and contain common features. However, an increasing number of reports have described variant properties dependent of cell sources. We examined (1) whether MSCs existed in several intraarticular tissues, (2) whether gene expression profiles in intraarticular tissue MSCs closely resembled each other, and (3) whether identified genes were specific to intraarticular tissue MSCs. Human synovium, meniscus, intraarticular ligament, muscle, adipose tissue, and bone marrow were harvested, and colony-forming cells were analyzed. All these cells showed multipotentiality and surface markers typical of MSCs. Gene profiles of intraarticular tissue MSCs and chondrocytes were closer to each other than those of extraarticular tissues MSCs. Among three characteristic genes specific for intraarticular tissue MSCs, we focused on proline arginine-rich end leucine-rich repeat protein (PRELP). Higher expression of PRELP was confirmed in chondrocytes and intraarticular tissue MSCs among three elderly and three young donors. Synovium MSCs stably expressed PRELP, contrarily, bone marrow MSCs increased PRELP expression during in vitro chondrogenesis. In conclusion, MSCs could be isolated from various intraarticular tissues including meniscus and ligament, gene expression profiles of intraarticular tissue MSCs closely resembled each other, and the higher expression of PRELP was characteristic of intraarticular tissue MSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chondrocytes / cytology*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Menisci, Tibial / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Synovial Membrane / cytology*


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • PRELP protein, human