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Cytotechnology. 2014 Jan;66(1):27-35. doi: 10.1007/s10616-012-9533-3. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Expression of scleraxis and tenascin C in equine adipose and umbilical cord blood derived stem cells is dependent upon substrata and FGF supplementation.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA,


Recovery from tendon injury is based on long periods of rest, which results in sub-optimal repair, often replacing tendon with fibrocartilage scar tissue. Recently, the use of stem cells in equine tendon repair has been attempted with variable success. The objective of this work was to determine the expression of scleraxis (scx) and tenascin C (TnC), two markers of tenocytes, in adipose (AdMSC) and umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells during culture on various substrata and in response to fibroblast growth factor (FGF) treatment. Equine UCB and AdMSC were cultured on gelatin-coated plasticware, 30 % matrigel or collagen-coated Cytodex beads and treated with 10 ng/ml FGF2, FGF4 or FGF5 prior to measurement of proliferation, kinase activity and tenocyte gene expression. Supplementation with FGF2 or FGF5 activated the ERK1/2 signaling pathway in AdMSC and UCB; no effect of FGF4 was observed in UCB. FGF2 increased proliferation in AdMSC but not UCB. Conversely, FGF5 stimulated proliferation of UCB. Culture in matrigel increased scx expression in both cell populations and increased TnC in AdMSC. In AdMSC grown in matrigel, supplementation with FGF2 or FGF5 increased TnC expression. Thus, culture conditions (substrata and FGF supplementation) impact markers of tenocytes in AdMSC and UCB stem cells, indicating that careful consideration should be given to culture conditions prior to use of UCB or AdMSC as therapeutic aids. Optimal culture conditions may promote early differentiation of these cells, improving their ability to aid tendon regeneration and facilitating more efficient recovery from tendon injury.

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