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Tissue Eng. 2001 Dec;7(6):829-41.

Lapine and canine bone marrow stromal cells contain smooth muscle actin and contract a collagen-glycosaminoglycan matrix.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Lapine and canine marrow stromal cells were found to contain a contractile actin isoform, alpha-smooth muscle actin (SMA), by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. The SMA was found to be incorporated into stress fibers that were prominently displayed by the cells in monolayer culture. The cell content of this actin isoform increased with passage number. The contractility of SMA-expressing stromal cells was demonstrated by their contraction of collagen-glycosaminoglycan analogs of extracellular matrix into which they were seeded. The demonstration that marrow-derived stromal cells express the SMA gene may explain recent findings of this expression in musculoskeletal connective tissue cells including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and fibrochondrocytes that may be derived from this mesenchymal stem cell. The implications of these findings for tissue engineering strategies employing marrow stromal cells are also discussed.

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