Engineered cartilage regeneration from adipose tissue derived-mesenchymal stem cells: A morphomolecular study on osteoblast, chondrocyte and apoptosis evaluation

Exp Cell Res. 2017 Aug 15;357(2):222-235. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2017.05.018. Epub 2017 May 18.


The poor self-repair capacity of cartilage tissue in degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis (OA), has prompted the development of a variety of therapeutic approaches, such as cellular therapies and tissue engineering based on the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The aim of this study is to demonstrate, for the first time, that the chondrocytes differentiated from rat adipose tissue derived-MSCs (AMSCs), are able to constitute a morphologically and biochemically healthy hyaline cartilage after 6 weeks of culture on a Collagen Cell Carrier (CCC) scaffold. In this study we evaluated the expression of some osteoblasts (Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) and osteocalcin), chondrocytes (collagen I, II and lubricin) and apoptosis (caspase-3) biomarkers in undifferentiated AMSCs, differentiated AMSCs in chondrocytes cultured in monolayer and AMSCs-derived chondrocytes seeded on CCC scaffolds, by different techniques such as immunohistochemistry, ELISA, Western blot and gene expression analyses. Our results showed the increased expression of collagen II and lubricin in AMSCs-derived chondrocytes cultured on CCC scaffolds, whereas the expression of collagen I, RUNX2, osteocalcin and caspase-3 resulted decreased, when compared to the controls. In conclusion, this innovative basic study could be a possible key for future therapeutic strategies for articular cartilage restoration through the use of CCC scaffolds, to reduce the morbidity from acute cartilage injuries and degenerative joint diseases.

Keywords: Adipose tissue; Apoptosis; Cartilage; Chondrocytes; Collagen cell carrier scaffold; Lubricin; Mesenchymal stem cells; RUNX2; Regeneration.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / cytology*
  • Chondrogenesis / physiology*
  • Female
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Tissue Engineering / methods