Investigation of the optimal timing for chondrogenic priming of MSCs to enhance osteogenic differentiation in vitro as a bone tissue engineering strategy

J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2016 Apr;10(4):E250-62. doi: 10.1002/term.1793. Epub 2013 Aug 7.


Recent in vitro tissue engineering approaches have shown that chondrogenic priming of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can have a positive effect on osteogenesis in vivo. However, whether chondrogenic priming is an effective in vitro bone regeneration strategy is not yet known. In particular, the appropriate timing for chondrogenic priming in vitro is unknown albeit that in vivo cartilage formation persists for a specific period before bone formation. The objective of this study is to determine the optimum time for chondrogenic priming of MSCs to enhance osteogenic differentiation by MSCs in vitro. Pellets derived from murine and human MSCs were cultured in six different media groups: two control groups (chondrogenic and osteogenic) and four chondrogenic priming groups (10, 14, 21 and 28 days priming). Biochemical analyses (Hoechst, sulfate glycosaminoglycan (sGAG), Alkaline Phosphate (ALP), calcium), histology (Alcian Blue, Alizarin Red) and immunohistochemistry (collagen types I, II and X) were performed on the samples at specific times. Our results show that after 49 days the highest amount of sGAG production occurred in MSCs chondrogenically primed for 21 days and 28 days. Moreover we found that chondrogenic priming of MSCs in vitro for specific amounts of time (14 days, 21 days) can have optimum influence on their mineralization capacity and can produce a construct that is mineralized throughout the core. Determining the optimum time for chondrogenic priming to enhance osteogenic differentiation in vitro provides information that might lead to a novel regenerative treatment for large bone defects, as well as addressing the major limitation of core degradation and construct failure.

Keywords: chondrogenesis; chondrogenic priming; endochondral ossification; mesenchymal stem cells; osteogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Chondrogenesis*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Osteogenesis*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Engineering / methods


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • DNA
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Calcium