Transcription Adaptation during In Vitro Adipogenesis and Osteogenesis of Porcine Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Dynamics of Pathways, Biological Processes, Up-Stream Regulators, and Gene Networks

PLoS One. 2015 Sep 23;10(9):e0137644. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137644. eCollection 2015.


The importance of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for bone regeneration is growing. Among MSC the bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSC) are considered the gold standard in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine; however, the adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) have very similar properties and some advantages to be considered a good alternative to BMSC. The molecular mechanisms driving adipogenesis are relatively well-known but mechanisms driving osteogenesis are poorly known, particularly in pig. In the present study we have used transcriptome analysis to unravel pathways and biological functions driving in vitro adipogenesis and osteogenesis in BMSC and ASC. The analysis was performed using the novel Dynamic Impact Approach and functional enrichment analysis. In addition, a k-mean cluster analysis in association with enrichment analysis, networks reconstruction, and transcription factors overlapping analysis were performed in order to uncover the coordination of biological functions underlining differentiations. Analysis indicated a larger and more coordinated transcriptomic adaptation during adipogenesis compared to osteogenesis, with a larger induction of metabolism, particularly lipid synthesis (mostly triglycerides), and a larger use of amino acids for synthesis of feed-forward adipogenic compounds, larger cell signaling, lower cell-to-cell interactions, particularly for the cytoskeleton organization and cell junctions, and lower cell proliferation. The coordination of adipogenesis was mostly driven by Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptors together with other known adipogenic transcription factors. Only a few pathways and functions were more induced during osteogenesis compared to adipogenesis and some were more inhibited during osteogenesis, such as cholesterol and protein synthesis. Up-stream transcription factor analysis indicated activation of several lipid-related transcription regulators (e.g., PPARs and CEBPα) during adipogenesis but osteogenesis was driven by inhibition of several up-stream regulators, such as MYC. Between MSCs the data indicated an 'adipocyte memory' in ASC with also an apparent lower immunogenicity compared to BMSC during differentiations. Overall the analysis allowed proposing a dynamic model for the adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation in porcine ASC and BMSC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Ontology
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Osteogenesis / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Software
  • Sus scrofa
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Transcription Factors

Grants and funding

Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute provided the funding support of this project through grant #63080017 (MBW). The funding agency had no role in design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.