Divergence in chondrogenic potential between in vitro and in vivo of adipose- and synovial-stem cells from mouse and human

Chijimatsu Ryota, Miwa Satoshi, Okamura Gensuke, Miyahara Junya, Tachibana Naohiro, Ishikura Hisatoshi, Higuchi Junya, Maenohara Yuji, Tsuji Shinsaku, Sameshima Shin, Takagi Kentaro, Nakazato Keiu, Kawaguchi Kohei, Yamagami Ryota, Inui Hiroshi, Taketomi Shuji, Sakae Tanaka, Taku Saito

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Background: Somatic stem cell transplantation has been performed for cartilage injury, but the reparative mechanisms are still conflicting. The chondrogenic potential of stem cells are thought as promising features for cartilage therapy; however, the correlation between their potential for chondrogenesis in vitro and in vivo remains undefined. The purpose of this study was to investigate the intrinsic chondrogenic condition depends on cell types and explore an indicator to select useful stem cells for cartilage regeneration. Methods: The chondrogenic potential of two different stem cell types derived from adipose tissue (ASCs) and synovium (SSCs) of mice and humans was assessed using bone morphogenic protein-2 (BMP2) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFβ1). Their in vivo chondrogenic potential was validated through transplantation into a mouse osteochondral defect model. Results: All cell types showed apparent chondrogenesis under the combination of BMP2 and TGFβ1 in vitro, as assessed by the formation of proteoglycan- and type 2 collagen (COL2)-rich tissues. However, our results vastly differed with those observed following single stimulation among species and cell types; apparent chondrogenesis of mouse SSCs was observed with supplementation of BMP2 or TGFβ1, whereas chondrogenesis of mouse ASCs and human SSCs was observed with supplementation of BMP2 not TGFβ1. Human ASCs showed no obvious chondrogenesis following single stimulation. Mouse SSCs showed the formation of hyaline-like cartilage which had less fibrous components (COL1/3) with supplementation of TGFβ1. However, human cells developed COL1/3+ tissues with all treatments. Transcriptomic analysis for TGFβ receptors and ligands of cells prior to chondrogenic induction did not indicate their distinct reactivity to the TGFβ1 or BMP2. In the transplanted site in vivo, mouse SSCs formed hyaline-like cartilage (proteoglycan+/COL2+/COL1−/COL3−) but other cell types mainly formed COL1/3-positive fibrous tissues in line with in vitro reactivity to TGFβ1. Conclusion: Optimal chondrogenic factors driving chondrogenesis from somatic stem cells are intrinsically distinct among cell types and species. Among them, the response to TGFβ1 may possibly represent the fate of stem cells when locally transplanted into cartilage defects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number405
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose stem cells
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Somatic stem cells
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Synovial stem cells
  • Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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