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Biol Res. 2018 Nov 1;51(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s40659-018-0191-6.

Priming stem cells with protein kinase C activator enhances early stem cell-chondrocyte interaction by increasing adhesion molecules.

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Department of Medicine, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, International St. Mary's Hospital, Catholic Kwandong University College of Medicine, Incheon, South Korea.
Department of Integrated Omics for Biomedical Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
Brain Korea 21 PLUS Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 50, Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 03722, Republic of Korea.
Institute for Bio-Medical Convergence, College of Medicine, Catholic Kwandong University, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea.
Institute for Bio-Medical Convergence, College of Medicine, Catholic Kwandong University, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea.



Osteoarthritis (OA) can be defined as degradation of articular cartilage of the joint, and is the most common degenerative disease. To regenerate the damaged cartilage, different experimental approaches including stem cell therapy have been tried. One of the major limitations of stem cell therapy is the poor post-transplantation survival of the stem cells. Anoikis, where insufficient matrix support and adhesion to extracellular matrix causes apoptotic cell death, is one of the main causes of the low post-transplantation survival rate of stem cells. Therefore, enhancing the initial interaction of the transplanted stem cells with chondrocytes could improve the therapeutic efficacy of stem cell therapy for OA. Previously, protein kinase C activator phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-induced increase of mesenchymal stem cell adhesion via activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) has been reported. In the present study, we examine the effect PMA on the adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) adhesion and spreading to culture substrates, and further on the initial interaction between ADSC and chondrocytes.


PMA treatment increased the initial adhesion of ADSC to culture substrate and cellular spreading with increased expression of adhesion molecules, such as FAK, vinculin, talin, and paxillin, at both RNA and protein level. Priming of ADSC with PMA increased the number of ADSCs attached to confluent layer of cultured chondrocytes compared to that of untreated ADSCs at early time point (4 h after seeding).


Taken together, the results of this study suggest that priming ADSCs with PMA can increase the initial interaction with chondrocytes, and this proof of concept can be used to develop a non-invasive therapeutic approach for treating OA. It may also accelerate the regeneration process so that it can relieve the accompanied pain faster in OA patients. Further in vivo studies examining the therapeutic effect of PMA pretreatment of ADSCs for articular cartilage damage are required.


ADSC; Cellular adhesion; Chondrocyte; Osteoarthritis; PMA

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