Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) can differentiate into cells of connective tissue lineages, including cartilage. To overcome the limiting autogenous chondrocyte populations available in cartilage repair, various methods have been developed to maximize chondrogenesis of hMSCs in vitro, most of which use cells derived from primary culture. In this study, we compared chondrogenesis of immortalized hMSCs embedded in collagen gel to those grown in pellet culture. The hMSCs in collagen scaffolds expressed more glycosaminoglycan than those in pellet culture. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis demonstrated that the expression of genes encoding sox-9, aggrecan, and types I and II collagen increased in pellet culture over time. However, in the collagen cultures, only type II collagen and aggrecan expression increased over time, whereas sox-9 expression remained unchanged and type I collagen expression decreased. These results indicate that the immortalized hMSC line is a promising tool for further in vitro chondrogenic studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas