Hyaluronic acid and autologous synovial fluid induce chondrogenic differentiation of equine mesenchymal stem cells: a preliminary study.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have the potential to differentiate into distinct mesenchymal tissues including cartilage, which suggest these cells as an attractive cell source for cartilage tissue engineering approaches. Our objective was to study the effects of TGF-beta1, hyaluronic acid and synovial fluid on chondrogenic differentiation of equine MSC. For that, bone marrow was aspirated from the tibia of one 18-month-old horse (Haflinger) and MSC were isolated using percoll-density centrifugation. To promote chondrogenesis, MSC were centrifuged to form a micromass and were cultured in a medium containing 10 ng/ml TGF-beta1 or 0.1mg/ml hyaluronic acid (Hylartil, Ostenil) or either 5%, 10% or 50% autologous synovial fluid as the chondrogenesis inducing factor. Differentiation along the chondrogenic lineage was documented by type II collagen and proteoglycan expression. MSC induced by TGF-beta1 alone showed the highest proteoglycan expression. Combining TGF-beta1 with hyaluronic acid could not increase the proteoglycan expression. Cultures stimulated by autologous synovial fluid (independent of concentration) and hyaluronic acid demonstrated a pronounced, but lower proteoglycan expression than cultures stimulated by TGF-beta1. The expression of cartilage-specific type II collagen was high and about the same in all stimulated cultures. In summary, hyaluronic acid and autologous synovial fluid induces chondrogenesis of equine mesenchymal stem cells, which encourage tissue engineering applications of MSC in chondral defects, as the natural environment in the joint is favorable for chondrogenic differentiation.