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Comparison of mesenchymal tissues-derived stem cells for in vivo chondrogenesis: suitable conditions for cell therapy of cartilage defects in rabbit


We previously compared mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from a variety of mesenchymal tissues and demonstrated that synovium-MSCs had the best expansion and chondrogenic ability in vitro in humans and rats. In this study, we compared the in vivo chondrogenic potential of rabbit MSCs. We also examined other parameters to clarify suitable conditions for in vitro and in vivo cartilage formation. MSCs were isolated from bone marrow, synovium, adipose tissue, and muscle of adult rabbits. Proliferation potential and in vitro chondrogenic potential were compared. Toxicity of the tracer DiI for in vitro chondrogenesis was also examined. MSCs from each tissue were embedded in collagen gel and transplanted into full thickness cartilage defects of rabbits. Cartilage matrix production was compared histologically. The effects of cell density and periosteal patch on the in vivo chondrogenic potential of synovium-MSCs were also examined. Synovium- and muscle-MSCs had a higher proliferation potential than other cells. Pellets from synovium- and bone-marrow-MSCs showed abundant cartilage matrix. DiI had no significant influence on in vitro cartilage formation. After transplantation into cartilage defects, synovium- and bone-marrow-MSCs produced much more cartilage matrix than other cells. When synovium-MSCs were transplanted at a higher cell density and with a periosteal patch, more abundant cartilage matrix was observed. Thus, synovium- and bone-marrow-MSCs had greater in vivo chondrogenic potential than adipose- and muscle-MSCs, but synovium-MSCs had the advantage of a greater proliferation potential. Higher cell density and a periosteum patch were needed to obtain a high production of cartilage matrix by synovium-MSCs.

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We thank Dr. Kenichi Shinomiya for continuous support, and Miyoko Ojima for expert help with the histology.

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Correspondence to Ichiro Sekiya.

Additional information

This study was supported by grants from the Center of Excellence Program for Frontier Research on Molecular Destruction and Reconstruction of Tooth and Bone in Tokyo Medical and Dental University to T.M. and by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (16591478) to I.S. Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 was kindly provided by Astellas Pharma.

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Koga, H., Muneta, T., Nagase, T. et al. Comparison of mesenchymal tissues-derived stem cells for in vivo chondrogenesis: suitable conditions for cell therapy of cartilage defects in rabbit. Cell Tissue Res 333, 207–215 (2008).

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  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Synovium
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Cartilage repair
  • Cell transplantation
  • Rabbit (Japanese White)