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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2010 Feb;16(1):11-21. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2008.0698.

In vitro and in vivo validation of human and goat chondrocyte labeling by green fluorescent protein lentivirus transduction.

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Department of Surgery and of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel , Basel, Switzerland .


We investigated whether human articular chondrocytes can be labeled efficiently and for long-term with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) lentivirus and whether the viral transduction would influence cell proliferation and tissue-forming capacity. The method was then applied to track goat articular chondrocytes after autologous implantation in cartilage defects. Expression of GFP in transduced chondrocytes was detected cytofluorimetrically and immunohistochemically. Chondrogenic capacity of chondrocytes was assessed by Safranin-O staining, immunostaining for type II collagen, and glycosaminoglycan content. Human articular chondrocytes were efficiently transduced with GFP lentivirus (73.4 +/- 0.5% at passage 1) and maintained the expression of GFP up to 22 weeks of in vitro culture after transduction. Upon implantation in nude mice, 12 weeks after transduction, the percentage of labeled cells (73.6 +/- 3.3%) was similar to the initial one. Importantly, viral transduction of chondrocytes did not affect the cell proliferation rate, chondrogenic differentiation, or tissue-forming capacity, either in vitro or in vivo. Goat articular chondrocytes were also efficiently transduced with GFP lentivirus (78.3 +/- 3.2%) and maintained the expression of GFP in the reparative tissue after orthotopic implantation. This study demonstrates the feasibility of efficient and relatively long-term labeling of human chondrocytes for co-culture on integration studies, and indicates the potential of this stable labeling technique for tracking animal chondrocytes for in cartilage repair studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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