Cartilage fragments from osteoarthritic knee promote chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells without exogenous growth factor inductionChia‐Chun Chen Cheng‐Hao Liao Yao‐Horng Wang Yuan‐Ming Hsu Shih‐Horng Huang Chih‐Hung Chang Hsu‐Wei Fang
Extracellular matrix (ECM) is thought to participate significantly in guiding the differentiation process of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In this study, we hypothesized that cartilage fragments from osteoarthritic knee could promote chondrogenesis of MSCs. Nonworn parts of cartilage tissues were obtained during total knee arthroplasty (TKA) surgery. Cartilage fragments and MSCs were wrapped into fibrin glue; and the constructs were implanted subcutaneously into nude mice. Histological analysis showed neocartilage‐like structure with positive Alcian blue staining in the cartilage fragment–fibrin–MSC constructs. However, constructs with only MSCs in fibrin showed condensed appearance like MSCs in the pellet culture. Gene expression of type II collagen in the constructs with 60 mg cartilage fragments were significantly elevated after 4 weeks of implantation. Conversely, the constructs without cartilage fragments failed to express type II collagen, which indicated MSCs did not differentiate into a chondrogenic lineage. In conclusion, we demonstrated the effect of cartilage fragments from osteoarthritic knee in promoting chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs. This may be a favorable strategy for MSC chondrogenesis without exogenous growth factor induction.