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J Cell Biochem. 2006 Aug 1;98(5):1140-9.

Expansion on specific substrates regulates the phenotype and differentiation capacity of human articular chondrocytes.

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Departments of Surgery and of Research, University Hospital Basel, Hebelstrasse 20, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.


In this study, we investigated if monolayer expansion of adult human articular chondrocytes (AHAC) on specific substrates regulates cell phenotype and post-expansion multilineage differentiation ability. AHAC isolated from cartilage biopsies of five donors were expanded on plastic dishes (PL), on dishes coated with collagen type II (COL), or on slides coated with a ceramic material (Osteologic, OS). The phenotype of expanded chondrocytes was assessed by flow cytometry and real-time RT-PCR. Cells were then cultured in previously established conditions promoting differentiation toward the chondrogenic or osteogenic lineage. AHAC differentiation was assessed histologically, biochemically, and by real-time RT-PCR. As compared to PL-expanded AHAC, those expanded on COL did not exhibit major phenotypic changes, whereas OS-expanded cells expressed (i) higher bone sialoprotein (BSP) (22.6-fold) and lower collagen type II (9.3-fold) mRNA levels, and (ii) lower CD26, CD90 and CD140 surface protein levels (1.4-11.1-fold). Following chondrogenic differentiation, COL-expanded AHAC expressed higher mRNA levels of collagen type II (2.3-fold) and formed tissues with higher glycosaminoglycan (GAG) contents (1.7-fold), whereas OS-expanded cells expressed 16.5-fold lower collagen type II and generated pellets with 2.0-fold lower GAG contents. Following osteogenic differentiation, OS-expanded cells expressed higher levels of BSP (3.9-fold) and collagen type I (2.8-fold) mRNA. In summary, AHAC expansion on COL or OS modulated the de-differentiated cell phenotype and improved the cell differentiation capacity respectively toward the chondrogenic or osteogenic lineage. Phenotypic changes induced by AHAC expansion on specific substrates may mimic pathophysiological events occurring at different stages of osteoarthritis and may be relevant for the engineering of osteochondral tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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