Bone morphogenetic protein-2 causes commitment and differentiation in C3H10T1/2 and 3T3 cells

Growth Factors. 1993;9(1):57-71. doi: 10.3109/08977199308991582.


C3H10T1/2 cells are an established mesenchymal stem cell line which can differentiate into muscle, fat and cartilage cells when treated with azacytidine. Bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) caused a dose dependent differentiation of these cells into fat, cartilage and bone cells-low concentrations favoring adipocytes and high concentrations chondrocytes and osteoblasts. The differentiated phenotypes were stable in the absence of BMP-2. Furthermore, the addition of other growth factors during the differentiation process altered the frequency of the differentiated colony formation. Transfection of the C3H10T1/2 cells with a BMP-2 cDNA also induced a phenotypic change from the parental fibroblast to adipocytes and osteoblasts. Our results in this model system indicate that a single protein factor can cause differentiation of a stem cell line to multiple phenotypes, that phenotypes induced can be regulated by factor concentration, and that other factors can also influence BMP-2 induced differentiation.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells / cytology
  • 3T3 Cells / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Phenotype
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Transfection


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Growth Substances
  • Proteins