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Open Access Plasticity of Fetal Cartilaginous Cells

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Tissue-specific stem cells found in adult tissues can participate in the repair process following injury. However, adult tissues, such as articular cartilage and intervertebral disc, have low regeneration capacity, whereas fetal tissues, such as articular cartilage, show high regeneration ability. The presence of fetal stem cells in fetal cartilaginous tissues and their involvement in the regeneration of fetal cartilage is unknown. The aim of the study was to assess the chondrogenic differentiation and the plasticity of fetal cartilaginous cells. We compared the TGF-3-induced chondrogenic differentiation of human fetal cells isolated from spine and cartilage tissues to that of human bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC). Stem cell surface markers and adipogenic and osteogenic plasticity of the two fetal cell types were also assessed. TGF-3 stimulation of fetal cells cultured in high cell density led to the production of aggrecan, type I and II collagens, and variable levels of type X collagen. Although fetal cells showed the same pattern of surface stem cell markers as BMSCs, both type of fetal cells had lower adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation capacity than BMSCs. Fetal cells from femoral head showed higher adipogenic differentiation than fetal cells from spine. These results show that fetal cells are already differentiated cells and may be a good compromise between stem cells and adult tissue cells for a cell-based therapy.

Keywords: Chondrogenesis; Fetal cells; Plasticity; Stem cells

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cellular Therapy Unit, Department of Musculoskeletal Medicine, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, CHUV-UNIL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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