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Rheumatol Int. 2013 Jan;33(1):121-8. doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-2328-6. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Chondrogenesis from umbilical cord blood cells stimulated with BMP-2 and BMP-6.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Cartilage, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Clinical Medicine, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, R. Vital Brasil, 50, Prédio FCM 08, Campus Universitário Barão Geraldo, Campinas, SP, Brazil.


Umbilical cord blood contains undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with chondrogenic potential that may be used for the repair of joint damage. The role of growth factors during the process of chondrogenesis is still not entirely understood. The objective of this study was to evaluate the formation of chondrocytes, cartilaginous matrix and type II collagen from human umbilical cord blood stem cells exposed to two different growth factors, BMP-6 and BMP-2, while being cultured as a micromass or a monolayer. Umbilical cord blood was obtained from full-term deliveries, and then, mononuclear cells were separated and cultured for expansion. Afterward, these cells were evaluated by flow cytometry using antibodies specific for MSCs and induced to chondrogenic differentiation in micromass and monolayer cultures supplemented with BMP-2 and BMP-6. Cellular phenotype was evaluated after 7, 14 and 21 days by RT-PCR and Western blot analysis to identify the type II collagen and aggrecan. The expanded cells displayed surface antigens characteristic of mesenchymal progenitor cells and were negative for hematopoietic differentiation antigens. Type II collagen and aggrecan mRNAs were expressed from day 14 in cells stimulated with BMP-2 or BMP-6. Type II collagen was demonstrated by Western blotting in both groups, and the greatest expression was observed 21 days after the cells were stimulated with BMP-2 cultured in micromass. BMP-2 in micromass culture was more efficient to induce the chondrogenesis.

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