Purpose: Data on the response of chondrocytes differentiated from hiPSCs (hiPSC-DCHs) to ionizing radiation (IR) are lacking. The aim of present study was to assess DNA damage response (DDR) mechanisms of IR-treated hiPSC-DCHs.
Methods and materials: The following IR-response characteristics in irradiated hiPSC-DCHs were assessed: 1) the kinetics of DNA DSB formation; 2) activation of major DNA repair mechanisms; 3) cell cycle changes and 4) reactive oxygen species (ROS), level of key markers of apoptosis and senescence.
Results: DNA DSBs were observed in 30% of the hiPSC-DCHs overall, and in 60% after high-dose (> 2 Gy) IR. Nevertheless, these cells displayed efficient DNA repair mechanisms, which reduced the DSBs over time until it reached 30% by activating key genes involved in homologous recombination and non-homologous end joining mechanisms. As similar to mature chondrocytes, irradiated hiPSC-DCH cells revealed accumulation of cells in G2 phase. Overall, the hiPSC-DCH cells were characterized by low levels of ROS, cPARP and high levels of senescence.
Conclusions: The chondrocyte-like cells derived from hiPSC demonstrated features characteristic of both mature chondrocytes and "parental" hiPSCs. The main difference between hiPSC-derived chondrocytes and hiPSCs and mature chondrocytes appears to be the more efficient DDR mechanism of hiPSC-DCHs. The unique properties of these cells suggest that they could potentially be used safely in regenerative medicine if these preliminary findings are confirmed in future studies.