Molecular characterization of mesenchymal stem cells in human osteoarthritis cartilage reveals contribution to the OA phenotype.
ABSTRACT: Adult human articular cartilage harbors a population of CD166+ mesenchymal stem cell-like progenitors that become more numerous during osteoarthritis (OA). While their role is not well understood, here we report that they are indeed part of cellular clusters formed in OA cartilage, which is a pathological hallmark of this disease. We hypothesize that these cells, termed OA mesenchymal stem cells (OA-MSCs), contribute to OA pathogenesis. To test this hypothesis, we generated and characterized multiple clonally derived stable/immortalized human OA-MSC cell lines, which exhibited the following properties. Firstly, two mesenchymal stem cell populations exist in human OA cartilage. While both populations are multi-potent, one preferentially undergoes chondrogenesis while the other exhibits higher osteogenesis potential. Secondly, both OA-MSCs exhibit significantly higher expression of hypertrophic OA cartilage markers COL10A1 and RUNX2, compared to OA chondrocytes. Induction of chondrogenesis in OA-MSCs further stimulated COL10A1 expression and MMP-13 release, suggesting that they contribute to OA phenotypes. Finally, knocking down RUNX2 is insufficient to inhibit COL10A1 in OA-MSCs and also requires simultaneous knockdown of NOTCH1 thereby suggesting altered gene regulation in OA stem cells in comparison to chondrocytes. Overall, our findings suggest that OA-MSCs may drive pathogenesis of cartilage degeneration and should therefore be a novel cell target for OA therapy.
Project description:Lesions of hyaline cartilage do not heal spontaneously, and represent a therapeutic challenge. In vitro engineering of articular cartilage using cells and biomaterials may prove to be the best solution. Patients with osteoarthritis (OA) may require tissue engineered cartilage therapy. Chondrocytes obtained from OA joints are thought to be involved in the disease process, and thus to be of insufficient quality to be used for repair strategies. Bone marrow (BM) derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from healthy donors may represent an alternative cell source. We have isolated chondrocytes from OA joints, performed cell culture expansion and tissue engineering of cartilage using a disc-shaped alginate scaffold and chondrogenic differentiation medium. We performed real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR and fluorescence immunohistochemistry to evaluate mRNA and protein expression for a range of molecules involved in chondrogenesis and OA pathogenesis. Results were compared with those obtained by using BM-MSCs in an identical tissue engineering strategy. Finally the two populations were compared using genome-wide mRNA arrays. At three weeks of chondrogenic differentiation we found high and similar levels of hyaline cartilage-specific type II collagen and fibrocartilage-specific type I collagen mRNA and protein in discs containing OA and BM-MSC derived chondrocytes. Aggrecan, the dominant proteoglycan in hyaline cartilage, was more abundantly distributed in the OA chondrocyte extracellular matrix. OA chondrocytes expressed higher mRNA levels also of other hyaline extracellular matrix components. Surprisingly BM-MSC derived chondrocytes expressed higher mRNA levels of OA markers such as COL10A1, SSP1 (osteopontin), ALPL, BMP2, VEGFA, PTGES, IHH, and WNT genes, but lower levels of MMP3 and S100A4. Based on the results presented here, OA chondrocytes may be suitable for tissue engineering of articular cartilage.
Project description:A major problem with chondrocytes derived in vitro from stem cells is undesired hypertrophic degeneration, to which articular chondrocytes (ACs) are resistant. As progenitors of all adult tissues, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are in theory able to form stable articular cartilage. In vitro differentiation of iPSCs into chondrocytes with an AC-phenotype and resistance to hypertrophy has not been demonstrated so far. Here, we present a novel protocol that succeeded in deriving chondrocytes from human iPSCs without using pro-hypertrophic bone-morphogenetic-proteins. IPSC-chondrocytes had a high cartilage formation capacity and deposited two-fold more proteoglycans per cell than adult ACs. Importantly, cartilage engineered from iPSC-chondrocytes had similar marginal expression of hypertrophic markers (COL10A1, PTH1R, IBSP, ALPL mRNAs) like cartilage from ACs. Collagen X was barely detectable in iPSC-cartilage and 30-fold lower than in hypertrophic cartilage derived from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). Moreover, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity remained at basal AC-like levels throughout iPSC chondrogenesis, in contrast to a well-known significant upregulation in hypertrophic MSCs. In line, iPSC-cartilage subjected to mineralizing conditions in vitro showed barely any mineralization, while MSC-derived hypertrophic cartilage mineralized strongly. Low expression of Indian hedgehog (IHH) like in ACs but rising BMP7 expression like in MSCs suggested that phenotype stability was linked to the hedgehog rather than the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway. Taken together, unlimited amounts of AC-like chondrocytes with a high proteoglycan production reminiscent of juvenile chondrocytes and resistance to hypertrophy and mineralization can now be produced from human iPSCs in vitro. This opens new strategies for cartilage regeneration, disease modeling and pharmacological studies.
Project description:In osteoarthritis (OA), impairment of cartilage regeneration can be related to a defective chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). Therefore, understanding the proteomic- and metabolomic-associated molecular events during the chondrogenesis of MSCs could provide alternative targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, a SILAC-based proteomic analysis identified 43 proteins related with metabolic pathways whose abundance was significantly altered during the chondrogenesis of OA human bone marrow MSCs (hBMSCs). Then, the level and distribution of metabolites was analyzed in these cells and healthy controls by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI), leading to the recognition of characteristic metabolomic profiles at the early stages of differentiation. Finally, integrative pathway analysis showed that UDP-glucuronic acid synthesis and amino sugar metabolism were downregulated in OA hBMSCs during chondrogenesis compared to healthy cells. Alterations in these metabolic pathways may disturb the production of hyaluronic acid (HA) and other relevant cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) components. This work provides a novel integrative insight into the molecular alterations of osteoarthritic MSCs and potential therapeutic targets for OA drug development through the enhancement of chondrogenesis.
Project description:Guiding progenitor cell development between chondral versus endochondral pathways is still an unachieved task of cartilage neogenesis, and human mesenchymal progenitor cell (MPC) chondrogenesis is considered as a valuable model to better understand hypertrophic development of chondrocytes. Transcription factors Runx2, Runx3, and Mef2c play prominent roles for chondrocyte hypertrophy during mouse development, but little is known on the importance of these key fate-determining factors for endochondral development of human MPCs. The aim of this study was to unravel the regulation of RUNX2, RUNX3, and MEF2C during MPC chondrogenesis, the pathways driving their expression, and the downstream hypertrophic targets affected by their regulation. RUNX2, RUNX3, and MEF2C gene expression was differentially regulated during chondrogenesis of MPCs, but remained low and unregulated when non-hypertrophic articular chondrocytes were differentiated under the same conditions. RUNX3 and MEF2C mRNA and protein levels rose in parallel to hypertrophic marker upregulation, but surprisingly, RUNX2 gene expression changed only by trend and RUNX2 protein remained undetectable. While RUNX3 expression was driven by TGF-? and BMP signaling, MEF2C responded to WNT-, BMP-, and Hedgehog-pathway inhibition. MEF2C but not RUNX3 levels correlated significantly with COL10A1, IHH, and IBSP gene expression when hypertrophy was attenuated. IBSP was a downstream target of RUNX3 and MEF2C but not RUNX2 in SAOS-2 cells, underlining the capacity of RUNX3 and MEF2C to stimulate osteogenic marker expression in human cells. Conclusively, RUNX3 and MEF2C appeared more important than RUNX2 for human endochondral MPC chondrogenesis. Pathways altering the speed of chondrogenesis (FGF, TGF-?, BMP) affected RUNX2 or RUNX3, while pathways changing hypertrophy (WNT, PTHrP/HH) regulated mainly MEF2C. Taken together, reduction of MEF2C levels is a new goal to shift human cartilage neogenesis toward the chondral pathway.
Project description:The EFEMP1 gene encoding fibulin 3 is specifically expressed in the superficial zone (SZ) of articular cartilage. The aims of this study were to examine the expression patterns of fibulin 3 in the knee joints during aging and during osteoarthritis (OA) and to determine the role of fibulin 3 in the pathogenesis of OA.Immunohistochemical analysis was performed on normal and OA knee cartilage samples from humans and mice. Experimental OA was induced in wild-type and fibulin 3-/- mice, and the severity of OA was evaluated by histologic scoring. To examine fibulin 3 function, human chondrocyte monolayer cultures were transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNA), followed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analyses. Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) were transduced with an EFEMP1 lentivirus and analyzed for markers of chondrogenesis.Fibulin 3 was specifically expressed in the SZ of normal knee joint cartilage from humans and mice, and the expression levels declined with aging. Both aging-related OA and experimental OA were significantly more severe in fibulin 3-/- mice compared with wild-type mice. Fibulin 3 expression was high in undifferentiated human BM-MSCs and decreased during chondrogenesis. Suppression of fibulin 3 by siRNA significantly increased the expression of SOX9, type II collagen, and aggrecan in human articular chondrocytes, while overexpression of fibulin 3 inhibited chondrogenesis in BM-MSCs.Fibulin 3 is specifically expressed in the SZ of articular cartilage and its expression is reduced in aging and OA. Fibulin 3 regulates differentiation of adult progenitor cells, and its aging-related decline is an early event in the pathogenesis of OA. Preventing aging-associated loss of fibulin 3 or restoring it to normal levels in SZ chondrocytes has the potential to delay or prevent the onset of OA.
Project description:Simulated microgravity has been shown to enhance cartilaginous matrix formation by chondrocytes and chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Similarly, coculture of primary chondrocytes with MSCs has been shown as a strategy to simultaneously retain the differentiated phenotype of chondrocytes and enhance cartilaginous matrix formation. In this study, we investigated the effect of simulated microgravity on cocultures of primary human meniscus cells and adipose-derived MSCs. We used biochemical, qPCR, and immunofluorescence assays to conduct our investigation. Simulated microgravity significantly enhanced cartilaginous matrix formation in cocultures of primary meniscus cells and adipose-derived MSCs. The enhancement was accompanied by increased hypertrophic differentiation markers, COL10A1 and MMP-13, and suppression of hypertrophic differentiation inhibitor, gremlin 1 (GREM1).
Project description:Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease characterised by the focal loss of the protective cartilage layer at the ends of the bones. It is painful, disabling, multifactorial and polygenic. The growth differentiation factor 5 gene GDF5 was one of the first reported OA susceptibility signals that showed consistent association to OA, with the transcript single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs143383 demonstrating association in Asians and Europeans. The functional effect of the signal is reduced expression of the gene. The GDF5 protein is an extracellular matrix signalling molecule that is active during chondrogenesis and in mature chondrocytes. Due to the functional impact of the susceptibility, we previously assessed the effect of supplementing chondrocytes from OA patients with exogenous GDF5. Their response was highly discordant, precluding the application of GDF5 as a simple means of attenuating the genetic deficit. Since GDF5 is also active during development, we have now assessed the effect of exogenous GDF5 on bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that are undergoing chondrogenesis during cartilage disc formation. MSCs from healthy donors and OA patients were studied and the effect of GDF5 was assessed by measuring the wet mass of the discs, by histological staining, and by monitoring the change in expression of anabolic, catabolic and hypertrophic protein-coding genes. The MSCs expressed the three principal GDF5 receptor genes and responded in a significantly anabolic manner (increase in wet mass, p = 0.0022; Bonferroni corrected p = 0.018) to a variant form of GDF5 that targets the most abundantly expressed receptor, BMPR-IA. GDF5 elicited significant (p < 0.05) changes in the expression of anabolic, catabolic and hypertrophic genes with several consistent effects in healthy donors and in OA patients. Our data implies that, unlike OA chondrocytes, OA MSCs do respond in a predictable, anabolic manner to GDF5, which could therefore provide a route to modulate the genetic deficit mediated by the rs143383 association signal.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold promise for cartilage engineering. Here, we aimed to determine the best culture conditions to induce chondrogenesis of MSCs isolated from bone marrow (BM) of aged osteoarthritis (OA) patients. We showed that these BM-MSCs proliferate slowly, are not uniformly positive for stem cell markers, and maintain their multilineage potential throughout multiple passages. The chondrogenic lineage of BM-MSCs was induced in collagen scaffolds, under normoxia or hypoxia, by BMP-2 and/or TGF-?1. The best chondrogenic induction, with the least hypertrophic induction, was obtained with the combination of BMP-2 and TGF-?1 under hypoxia. Differentiated BM-MSCs were then transfected with siRNAs targeting two markers overexpressed in OA chondrocytes, type I collagen and/or HtrA1 protease. siRNAs significantly decreased mRNA and protein levels of type I collagen and HtrA1, resulting in a more typical chondrocyte phenotype, but with frequent calcification of the subcutaneously implanted constructs in a nude mouse model. Our 3D culture model with BMP-2/TGF-?1 and COL1A1/HtrA1 siRNAs was not effective in producing a cartilage-like matrix in vivo. Further optimization is needed to stabilize the chondrocyte phenotype of differentiated BM-MSCs. Nevertheless, this study offers the opportunity to develop a combinatory cellular therapy strategy for cartilage tissue engineering.
Project description:Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that involves destruction of articular cartilage and eventually leads to disability. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) reside in healthy and diseased cartilage, and through their chondrogenic potential may provide a strategy for cartilage repair. To this end, we performed an image-based, high throughput screen and identified the small molecule, kartogenin, that promotes selective MSC differentiation into chondrocytes (EC50=100nM), shows chondroprotective effects in vitro, and is efficacious in two OA animal models. Kartogenin binds filamin A and induces chondrogenesis by regulating the CBFbeta-RUNX1 transcriptional program. This work provides new insights into the control of chondrogenesis that may ultimately lead to an effective stem-cell based therapy for osteoarthritis. one compound, three doses, two time points, a vehicle control
Project description:Autologous chondrocyte transplantation (ACT) is a routine technique to regenerate focal cartilage lesions. However, patients with osteoarthritis (OA) are lacking an appropriate long-lasting treatment alternative, partly since it is not known if chondrocytes from OA patients have the same chondrogenic differentiation potential as chondrocytes from donors not affected by OA. Articular chondrocytes from patients with OA undergoing total knee replacement (Mankin Score >3, Ahlbäck Score >2) and from patients undergoing ACT, here referred to as normal donors (ND), were isolated applying protocols used for ACT. Their chondrogenic differentiation potential was evaluated both in high-density pellet and scaffold (Hyaff-11) cultures by histological proteoglycan assessment (Bern Score) and immunohistochemistry for collagen types I and II. Chondrocytes cultured in monolayer and scaffolds were subjected to gene expression profiling using genome-wide oligonucleotide microarrays. Expression data were verified by using quantitative RT-PCR. Chondrocytes from ND and OA donors demonstrated accumulation of comparable amounts of cartilage matrix components, including sulphated proteoglycans and collagen types I and II. The mRNA expression of cartilage markers (COL2A1, COMP, aggrecan, CRTL1, SOX9) and genes involved in matrix synthesis (biglycan, COL9A2, COL11A1, TIMP4, CILP2) was highly induced in 3D cultures of chondrocytes from both donor groups. Genes associated with hypertrophic or OA cartilage (COL10A1, RUNX2, periostin, ALP, PTHR1, MMP13, COL1A1, COL3A1) were not significantly regulated between the two groups of donors. The expression of 661 genes, including COMP, FN1, and SOX9, were differentially regulated between OA and ND chondrocytes cultured in monolayer. During scaffold culture, the differences diminished between the OA and ND chondrocytes, and only 184 genes were differentially regulated. Only few genes were differentially expressed between OA and ND chondrocytes in Hyaff-11 culture. The risk of differentiation into hypertrophic cartilage does not seem to be increased for OA chondrocytes. Our findings suggest that the chondrogenic capacity is not significantly affected by OA and OA chondrocytes fulfill the requirements for matrix-associated ACT. Keywords: time course, cell type comparison, tissue engineered cartilage; osteoarthritis; Hyaff-11 scaffold; human chondrocytes; gene expression profiling; regenerative medicine; differentiation potential Overall design: Gene expression profiles of monolayer cultures (ML; passage 2) and Hyaff-11 scaffold cultures (3D; 14 days in vitro) of chondrocytes from 3 normal donors (ND; underwent ACT treatment) and 3 donors suffering from Osteoarthritis (OA; underwent knee replacement surgery) were determined. Comparative analyses between 3D and ML cultures (3D vs. ML) were performed to assess differentiation capacity of ND and OA chondrocytes. Furthermore, OA-related differences were determined comparing OA and ND monolayers as well as scaffold cultures (each OA vs. ND).