Osteoarthritis-derived chondrocytes are a potential source of multipotent progenitor cells for cartilage tissue engineering

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Oct 21;479(3):469-475. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.09.085. Epub 2016 Sep 17.


The natural healing capacity of damaged articular cartilage is poor, rendering joint surface injuries a prime target for regenerative medicine. While autologous chondrocyte or mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) implantation can be applied to repair cartilage defects in young patients, no appropriate long-lasting treatment alternative is available for elderly patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Multipotent progenitor cells are reported to present in adult human articular cartilage, with a preponderance in OA cartilage. These facts led us to hypothesize the possible use of osteoarthritis-derived chondrocytes as a cell source for cartilage tissue engineering. We therefore analyzed chondrocyte- and stem cell-related markers, cell growth rate, and multipotency in OA chondrocytes (OACs) and bone marrow-derived MSCs, along with normal articular chondrocytes (ACs) as a control. OACs demonstrated similar phenotype and proliferation rate to MSCs. Furthermore, OACs exhibited multilineage differentiation ability with a greater chondrogenic differentiation ability than MSCs, which was equivalent to ACs. We conclude that chondrogenic capacity is not significantly affected by OA, and OACs could be a potential source of multipotent progenitor cells for cartilage tissue engineering.

Keywords: Autologous chondrocyte implantation; Cartilage tissue engineering; Chondrocytes; Multipotency; Osteoarthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Aged
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chondrocytes / cytology*
  • Chondrogenesis / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis*
  • Osteogenesis
  • Phenotype
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*