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Int Orthop. 2011 Jun;35(6):941-8. doi: 10.1007/s00264-010-1116-3. Epub 2010 Aug 29.

Bone morphogenetic protein-7 promotes chondrogenesis in human amniotic epithelial cells.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tongji Hospital of Tongji University, Shanghai 200065, China.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play important roles at multiple stages of chondrogenesis. This study was undertaken to investigate the potential role of bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP-7) in the differentiation of chondrocytes using tissue engineering techniques. The impact of BMP-7 on human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs) was tested. The hAECs were treated either with recombinant human BMP-7 cDNA or with transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) as a positive control for three weeks in vitro. Cartilaginous differentiation and proliferation were assayed by quantitative RT-PCR, histology, and in situ hybridization. Our results were such that hAECs treated with either BMP-7 or TGF-β1 expressed cartilage markers (aggrecan, Sox9, CEP-68, and type II and X collagens) within three weeks. Compared with a control vector, BMP-7 induced a decrease in type I collagen expression, while the transcription of the cartilage-specific type II collagen remained stable. In induction experiments, BMP-7 transgenic hAECs exhibited the largest amount of matrix synthesis. In conclusion, these data indicate that BMP-7 plays an important role in inducing the production of cartilage by hAECs in vitro. Cartilage differentiation and matrix maturation can be promoted by BMPs in a cartilage engineering paradigm. These properties make BMPs promising tools in the engineering of cartilaginous joint bio-prostheses and as candidate biological agents or genes for cartilage stabilisation.

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