Stem cell interactions through paracrine cell signalling can regulate a range of cell responses, including metabolic activity, proliferation and differentiation. Moving towards the development of optimized tissue-engineering strategies with adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), the focus of this study was on developing indirect co-culture models to study the effects of mature adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteoblasts on bovine ASC multilineage differentiation. For each lineage, ASC differentiation was characterized by histology, gene expression and protein expression, in the absence of key inductive differentiation factors for the ASCs. Co-culture with each of the mature cell populations was shown to successfully induce or enhance lineage-specific differentiation of the ASCs. In general, a more homogeneous but lower-level differentiation response was observed in co-culture as compared to stimulating the bovine ASCs with inductive differentiation media. To explore the role of the Wnt canonical and non-canonical signalling pathways within the model systems, the effects of the Wnt inhibitors WIF-1 and DKK-1 on multilineage differentiation in co-culture were assessed. The data indicated that Wnt signalling may play a role in mediating ASC differentiation in co-culture with the mature cell populations.
Keywords: Wnt signalling; adipose-derived stem cells; co-culture; multilineage differentiation; tissue engineering.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.