Chondrogenic differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells: tips and tricks

Methods Mol Biol. 2011;698:253-78. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-999-4_20.


It is well known that adult cartilage lacks the ability to repair itself; this makes articular cartilage a very attractive target for tissue engineering. The majority of articular cartilage repair models attempt to deliver or recruit reparative cells to the site of injury. A number of efforts are directed to the characterization of progenitor cells and the understanding of the mechanisms involved in their chondrogenic differentiation. Our laboratory has focused on cartilage repair using mesenchymal stem cells and studied their differentiation into cartilage. Mesenchymal stem cells are attractive candidates for cartilage repair due to their osteogenic and chondrogenic potential, ease of harvest, and ease of expansion in culture. However, the need for chondrogenic differentiation is superposed on other technical issues associated with cartilage repair; this adds a level of complexity over using mature chondrocytes. This chapter will focus on the methods involved in the isolation and expansion of human mesenchymal stem cells, their differentiation along the chondrogenic lineage, and the qualitative and quantitative assessment of chondrogenic differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Chondrogenesis*
  • Cryopreservation
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Quality Control
  • RNA / isolation & purification


  • RNA