Chondrocytes differentiated from MSCs hold promise in cartilage repair

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Researchers demonstrate the immunosuppressive potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from human bone marrow and adipose tissue, after chondrogenic differentiation.

Stem cells are promising tools for new developments in tissue engineering and MSCs have emerged as alternative sources of stem cells for regenerative medicine, particularly for cartilage tissue regeneration, because of their multi-lineage differentiation capacity and potent immunomodulatory capacity. However, it is unclear whether MSCs retain their immune-regulatory properties after differentiation. As promising candidates for cartilage tissue engineering, the immunogenic and immunomodulatory properties of chondrocyte-differentiated MSCs (Chondro-MSC) require detailed investigation.

In the present study led by Dr. Nathalie.Rouas-Freiss at the Universite Paris Diderot (Paris), the team investigated the immunomodulatory property of MSCs before and after chondrocyte differentiation. They employed an alginate/hyaluronic acid (Alg/HA) hydrogel scaffold to create a three-dimensional environment and induced both bone marrow- and adipose tissue-derived MSC into chondrocytes. The MSCs before and after chondrocyte differentiation were treated with or without IFNγ and TNFα to mimic the inflammatory conditions and were compared using flow cytometry, mixed lymphocyte reaction and immunostaining assays.

Results showed that Chondro-MSCs, like undifferentiated MSCs, were hypoimmunogenic and could exert immunosuppression on HLA-mismatched peripheral blood mononuclear cells in a dose dependent manner. The HLA-G (an important mediator of MSC-mediated immunomodulation) expression was up-regulated in Chondro-MSCs under hypoxia conditions and could be boosted in allogenic settings. The hydrogel scaffold was hypoimmunogenic and did not modify the immune properties of MSCs. Thus, the study demonstrates that differentiated MSCs retain their immunosuppressive property and proposes MSCs as promising allogenic sources of stem cells for cartilage repair. The study is published in Stem Cells and Development.

Source: Mesenchymal Stem Cells derived from Human Bone Marrow and Adipose Tissue maintain their immunosuppressive properties after chondrogenic differentiation: role of HLA-G. Du W et al., Stem Cells and Development July 2016. DOI