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Cell Tissue Res. 1998 Sep;293(3):463-70.

p21(cip1) rescues human mesenchymal stem cells from apoptosis induced by low-density culture.

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Osiris Therapeutics Inc., 2001 Aliceanna St., Baltimore, Md. 21231, USA.


Mammalian cells are programmed to undergo programmed cell death in response to a variety of conditions. We demonstrate that human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) undergo programmed cell death upon seeding at low density. Under these conditions, we observed an increased proportion of cells in S-phase and a decreased proportion of cells in G1-phase. This indicated that a change in control of G1-S-phase transition in response to low-density seeding had occurred and, therefore, we measured the level of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitory proteins governing this transition. Human MSCs cultured at low density exhibited lowered levels of both the p21 and p27 cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, and these protein levels appear to be regulated at a post-transcriptional level. Conversely, overexpression of the p21 cell cycle-dependent kinase inhibitor but not that of p27 protected hMSCs from programmed cell death upon culture at low density. Furthermore, p21 and p27 are expressed differentially during endochondrial bone development. The loss of p21 in hypertrophic chondrocytes correlates with the onset of apoptosis during endochondrial ossification. We suggest that p21 and p27 play a central role in skeletal development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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