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1.  Low Osteogenic Differentiation Potential of Placenta-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Correlates with Low Expression of the Transcription Factors Runx2 and Twist2 
Stem Cells and Development  2013;22(21):2859-2872.
Recent studies indicated that mesenchymal stromal cells from bone marrow (bmMSC) differ in their osteogenic differentiation capacity compared to MSC from term placenta (pMSC). We extended these studies and investigated the expression of factors involved in regulation of bone metabolism in both cell types. To this end, MSC were expanded in vitro and characterized. The total transcriptome was investigated by microarrays, and for selected genes, the differences in gene expression were explored by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, immunocytochemistry, and flow cytometry. We report that bmMSC and pMSC share expression of typical lineage surface markers, including CD73, CD90, CD105, and lack of CD14, CD34, and CD45. However, according to transcriptome analyses, they differ significantly in their expression of more than 590 genes. Factors involved in bone metabolism, including alkaline phosphatase (P<0.05), osteoglycin (P<0.05), osteomodulin (P<0.05), runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) (P<0.04), and WISP2 (P<0.05), were expressed at significantly lower levels in pMSC, but twist-related protein 2 (Twist2) (P<0.0002) was expressed at significantly higher levels. The osteogenic differentiation capacity of pMSC was very low. The adipogenic differentiation was somewhat more prominent in bmMSC, while the chondrogenic differentiation seemed not to differ between bmMSC and pMSC, as determined by histochemical staining. However, expression and induction of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma-2 (PPARγ2) and Sox9, factors involved in early adipogenesis and chondrogenesis, respectively, were higher in bmMSC. We conclude that despite many similarities between bmMSC and pMSC, when expanded under identical conditions, they vary considerably with respect to their in vitro differentiation potential. For regenerative purposes, the choice of MSC may therefore influence the outcome of a treatment considerably.
PMCID: PMC3804084  PMID: 23763516
2.  Transforming Growth Factor-β1 and Laminin-111 Cooperate in the Regulation of Expression of Interleukin-6 and Interleukin-8 in Synovial Fibroblasts 
In a recent study we showed that binding of synovial fibroblasts (SF) to laminin-111 (LM-111) in the presence of TGF-β1 induced a significant production of IL-16. Here we go on to investigate the regulation of IL-6 and IL-8 in SF by LM-111 and TGF-β1. Changes in steady state mRNA levels encoding the interleukins were investigated by quantitative RT-PCR. We screened for interleukin production by a multiplexed immunoarray and quantified it with ELISA. The biological activity of IL-6 and IL-8 was corroborated by B-lymphocyte proliferation and cell migration assays, respectively. Growth of SF on LM-111 in presence of TGF-β1 induced significant mRNA responses for IL-6 (mean 3.72-fold increase, ± 1.6, p<0.003) and IL-8 (mean 4.5-fold increase, ± 1.6, p<0.001). In the supernatants significantly elevated concentrations of IL-6 (mean 7.9 ± 5 ng/mL, p<0.005) and IL-8 (mean 73.0 ng/mL ± 51, p<0.05) were detected, and they were shown to be biologically active. Binding to LM-111 in the presence of TGF-β1 activates SF for expression of IL-6 and IL-8 and thus may contribute to synovial inflammation and to infiltration of leukocytes.
PMCID: PMC3615287  PMID: 23675204
arthritis; inflammation; IL-6; IL-8; TGF-β synovial fibroblast
3.  Attachment to laminin‐111 facilitates transforming growth factor β‐induced expression of matrix metalloproteinase‐3 in synovial fibroblasts 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(4):446-451.
In the synovial membrane of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a strong expression of laminins and matrix degrading proteases was reported.
To investigate the regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in synovial fibroblasts (SFs) of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and RA by attachment to laminin‐1 (LM‐111) and in the presence or absence of costimulatory signals provided by transforming growth factor β (TGFβ).
SFs were seeded in laminin‐coated flasks and activated by addition of TGFβ. The expression of genes was investigated by quantitative reverse transcriptase‐polymerase chain reaction (qRT‐PCR), immunocytochemistry and ELISA, and intracellular signalling pathways by immunoblotting, and by poisoning p38MAPK by SB203580, MEK‐ERK by PD98059 and SMAD2 by A‐83‐01.
Attachment of SF to LM‐111 did not activate the expression of MMPs, but addition of TGFβ induced a fivefold higher expression of MMP‐3. Incubation of SF on LM‐111 in the presence of TGFβ induced a significant 12‐fold higher expression of MMP‐3 mRNA, and secretion of MMP‐3 was elevated 20‐fold above controls. Functional blocking of LM‐111–integrin interaction reduced the laminin‐activated MMP‐3 expression significantly. Stimulation of SF by LM‐111 and TGFβ activated the p38MAPK, ERK and SMAD2 pathways, and inhibition of these pathways by using SB203580, PD98059 or A‐83‐01 confirmed the involvement of these pathways in the regulation of MMP‐3.
Attachment of SF to LM‐111 by itself has only minor effects on the expression of MMP‐1 or MMP‐3, but it facilitates the TGFβ‐induced expression of MMP‐3 significantly. This mode of MMP‐3 induction may therefore contribute to inflammatory joint destruction in RA independent of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)1β or tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α.
PMCID: PMC1856036  PMID: 17124250
4.  Stress-vs-time signals allow the prediction of structurally catastrophic events during fracturing of immature cartilage and predetermine the biomechanical, biochemical, and structural impairment 
Journal of structural biology  2013;183(3):10.1016/j.jsb.2013.06.011.
Trauma-associated cartilage fractures occur in children and adolescents with clinically significant incidence. Several studies investigated biomechanical injury by compressive forces but the injury-related stress has not been investigated extensively. In this study, we hypothesized that the biomechanical stress occurring during compressive injury predetermines the biomechanical, biochemical, and structural consequences. We specifically investigated whether the stress-vs-time signal correlated with the injurious damage and may allow prediction of cartilage matrix fracturing.
Superficial and deeper zones disks (SZDs, DZDs; immature bovine cartilage) were biomechanically characterized, injured (50% compression, 100%/sec strain-rate), and re-characterized. Correlations of the quantified functional, biochemical and histological damage with biomechanical parameters were zonally investigated.
Injured SZDs exhibited decreased dynamic stiffness (by 93.04 ± 1.72%), unresolvable equilibrium moduli, structural damage (2.0 ± 0.5 on a 5-point-damage-scale), and 1.78-fold increased sGAG loss. DZDs remained intact. Measured stress-vs-time-curves during injury displayed 4 distinct shapes, which correlated with histological damage (p<0.001), loss of dynamic stiffness and sGAG (p<0.05). Damage prediction in a blinded experiment using stress-vs-time grades was 100%-correct and sensitive to differentiate single/complex matrix disruptions. Correlations of the dissipated energy and maximum stress rise with the extent of biomechanical and biochemical damage reached significance when SZDs and DZDs were analyzed as zonal composites but not separately.
The biomechanical stress that occurs during compressive injury predetermines the biomechanical, biochemical, and structural consequences and, thus, the structural and functional damage during cartilage fracturing. A novel biomechanical method based on the interpretation of compressive yielding allows the accurate prediction of the extent of structural damage.
PMCID: PMC3816199  PMID: 23810923
5.  Release of Matrix Metalloproteinase-8 During Physiological Trafficking and Induced Mobilization of Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells 
Stem Cells and Development  2012;22(9):1307-1318.
Previous studies indicate that the release of proteases, including the gelatinase matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, from mature granulocytes plays a crucial role in cytokine-induced hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) mobilization. However, studies with MMP-9-deficient mice revealed that HSPC mobilization was normal in these animals, suggesting that additional proteases must be active at clinically relevant cytokine concentrations. In the present study, we provide evidence that the collagenase MMP-8 is involved in stem cell mobilization. A rapid release of MMP-8 from isolated neutrophil granulocytes can be observed during an in vitro culture. During granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-induced HSPC mobilization, highly elevated serum concentrations of MMP-8 were observed on days 4 to 6 of the mobilization regimen, concomitantly with elevated MMP-9 serum levels and higher numbers of circulating CD34+ cells. Elevated serum concentrations of both proteases were also found in umbilical cord blood serum. In functional assays, adhesion of HSPC to osteoblasts as an essential component of the endosteal stem cell niche is negatively influenced by MMP-8. The chemokine CXCL12, which is critically involved in stem cell trafficking, can be proteolytically processed by MMP-8 treatment. This degradation has a strong inhibitory influence on HSPC migration. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that MMP-8 can be directly involved in hematopoietic stem cell mobilization and trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3629847  PMID: 23259856
6.  Processing of CXCL12 by Different Osteoblast-Secreted Cathepsins 
Stem Cells and Development  2011;21(11):1924-1935.
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are known to reside in specialized niches at the endosteum in the trabecular bone. Osteoblasts are the major cell type of the endosteal niche. It is well established that secreted proteases are involved in cytokine-induced mobilization processes that release stem cell from their niches. However, migratory processes such as the regular trafficking of HSPCs between their niches and the periphery are not fully understood. In the current study we analyzed whether osteoblast-secreted cysteine cathepsins are able to reduce the direct interaction of HSPCs with bone-forming osteoblasts. Isolated human osteoblasts were shown to secrete proteolytically active cysteine cathepsins, such as cathepsins B, K, L, and X. All of these cathepsins were able to digest, although with different efficacy, the chemokine CXCL12, which is known to be important for retaining HSPCs in their niches. Of the 4 identified cathepsins, only cathepsin X was able to reduce binding of HSPCs to osteoblasts. Interestingly, nonactivated pro-cathepsin X and mature cathepsin X did not interfere with HSPC–osteoblast interactions. Only pro-cathepsin X treated with dithiothreitol, which unfolds but does not lead to full maturation of cathepsin X, significantly reduced HSPC adhesion to osteoblasts. These observations argue for a role of the accessible cathepsin X prodomain in diminishing cell binding. Our findings strongly suggest that the cysteine cathepsins B, K, and L constitutively secreted by osteoblasts are part of the fine-tuned regulation of CXCL12 in the bone marrow, whereas pro-cathepsin X with its prodomain can affect HSPC trafficking in the niche.
PMCID: PMC3396142  PMID: 22066471
7.  Identification of an Aptamer Binding to Human Osteogenic-Induced Progenitor Cells 
Nucleic Acid Therapeutics  2013;23(1):44-61.
The aim of this study was to generate a specific aptamer against human jaw periosteal cells (JPCs) for tissue engineering applications in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This aptamer should serve as a capture molecule to enrich or even purify osteogenic progenitor cells from JPCs or from adult stem cells of other sources. Using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX), we generated the first aptamer to specifically bind to human osteogenically induced JPCs. We did not detect any binding of the aptamer to undifferentiated JPCs, adipogenically and chondrogenically induced JPCs, or to any other cell line tested. However, similar binding patterns of the identified aptamer 74 were detected with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) derived from placental tissue and bone marrow. After cell sorting, we analyzed the expression of osteogenic marker genes in the aptamer 74-positive and aptamer 74-negative fractions and detected no significant differences. Additionally, the analysis of the mineralization capacity revealed a slight tendency for the aptamer positive fraction to have a higher osteogenic potential. In terms of proliferation, JPCs growing in aptamer-coated wells showed increased proliferation rates compared with the controls. Herein, we report the development of an innovative approach for tissue engineering applications. Further studies should be conducted to modify and improve the specificity of the generated aptamer.
PMCID: PMC3696924  PMID: 23289534
8.  Laminin-5 and type I collagen promote adhesion and osteogenic differentiation of animal serum-free expanded human mesenchymal stromal cells 
Orthopedic Reviews  2012;4(4):e36.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) are differentiation competent cells and may generate, among others, mature osteoblasts or chondrocytes in vitro and in vivo. Laminin-5 and type I collagen are important components of the extracellular matrix. They are involved in a variety of cellular and extracellular activities including cell attachment and osteogenic differentiation of MSC. MSC were isolated and expanded using media conforming good medical practice (GMP)-regulations for medical products. Cells were characterized according to the defined minimal criteria for multipotent MSC. MTT- and BrdU-assays were performed to evaluate protein-dependent (laminin-5, laminin-1, type I collagen) metabolic activity and proliferation of MSC. MSC-attachment assays were performed using protein-coated culture plates. Osteogenic differentiation of MSC was measured by protein-dependant mineralization and expression of osteogenic marker genes (osteopontin, alkaline phophatase, Runx2) after three, seven and 28 days of differentiation. Marker genes were identified using quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Expansion of MSC in GMP-conforming media yielded vital cells meeting all minimal criteria for MSC. Attachment assay revealed a favorable binding of MSC to laminin-5 and type I collagen at a protein concentration of 1–5 fmol/µL. Compared to plastic, osteogenic differentiation was significantly increased by laminin-5 after 28 days of culture (P<0.04). No significant differences in gene expression patterns were observed. We conclude that laminin-5 and type I collagen promote attachment, but laminin-1 and laminin-5 promote osteogenic differentiation of MSC. This may influence future clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3626307  PMID: 23589764
attachment; mesenchymal stromal cells; osteogenic differentiation; type I collagen; laminin-5.
9.  Rheological and biological properties of a hydrogel support for cells intended for intervertebral disc repair 
Cell-based approaches towards restoration of prolapsed or degenerated intervertebral discs are hampered by a lack of measures for safe administration and placement of cell suspensions within a treated disc. In order to overcome these risks, a serum albumin-based hydrogel has been developed that polymerizes after injection and anchors the administered cell suspension within the tissue.
A hydrogel composed of chemically activated albumin crosslinked by polyethylene glycol spacers was produced. The visco-elastic gel properties were determined by rheological measurement. Human intervertebral disc cells were cultured in vitro and in vivo in the hydrogel and their phenotype was tested by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Matrix production and deposition was monitored by immuno-histology and by biochemical analysis of collagen and glycosaminoglycan deposition. Species specific in situ hybridization was performed to discriminate between cells of human and murine origin in xenotransplants.
The reproducibility of the gel formation process could be demonstrated. The visco-elastic properties were not influenced by storage of gel components. In vitro and in vivo (subcutaneous implants in mice) evidence is presented for cellular differentiation and matrix deposition within the hydrogel for human intervertebral disc cells even for donor cells that have been expanded in primary monolayer culture, stored in liquid nitrogen and re-activated in secondary monolayer culture. Upon injection into the animals, gels formed spheres that lasted for the duration of the experiments (14 days). The expression of cartilage- and disc-specific mRNAs was maintained in hydrogels in vitro and in vivo, demonstrating the maintenance of a stable specific cellular phenotype, compared to monolayer cells. Significantly higher levels of hyaluronan synthase isozymes-2 and -3 mRNA suggest cell functionalities towards those needed for the support of the regeneration of the intervertebral disc. Moreover, mouse implanted hydrogels accumulated 5 times more glycosaminoglycans and 50 times more collagen than the in vitro cultured gels, the latter instead releasing equivalent quantities of glycosaminoglycans and collagen into the culture medium. Matrix deposition could be specified by immunohistology for collagen types I and II, and aggrecan and was found only in areas where predominantly cells of human origin were detected by species specific in situ hybridization.
The data demonstrate that the hydrogels form stable implants capable to contain a specifically functional cell population within a physiological environment.
PMCID: PMC3375205  PMID: 22490206
11.  Comparison of marker gene expression in chondrocytes from patients receiving autologous chondrocyte transplantation versus osteoarthritis patients 
Currently, autologous chondrocyte transplantation (ACT) is used to treat traumatic cartilage damage or osteochondrosis dissecans, but not degenerative arthritis. Since substantial refinements in the isolation, expansion and transplantation of chondrocytes have been made in recent years, the treatment of early stage osteoarthritic lesions using ACT might now be feasible. In this study, we determined the gene expression patterns of osteoarthritic (OA) chondrocytes ex vivo after primary culture and subculture and compared these with healthy chondrocytes ex vivo and with articular chondrocytes expanded for treatment of patients by ACT. Gene expression profiles were determined using quantitative RT-PCR for type I, II and X collagen, aggrecan, IL-1β and activin-like kinase-1. Furthermore, we tested the capability of osteoarthritic chondrocytes to generate hyaline-like cartilage by implanting chondrocyte-seeded collagen scaffolds into immunodeficient (SCID) mice. OA chondrocytes ex vivo showed highly elevated levels of IL-1β mRNA, but type I and II collagen levels were comparable to those of healthy chondrocytes. After primary culture, IL-1β levels decreased to baseline levels, while the type II and type I collagen mRNA levels matched those found in chondrocytes used for ACT. OA chondrocytes generated type II collagen and proteoglycan-rich cartilage transplants in SCID mice. We conclude that after expansion under suitable conditions, the cartilage of OA patients contains cells that are not significantly different from those from healthy donors prepared for ACT. OA chondrocytes are also capable of producing a cartilage-like tissue in the in vivo SCID mouse model. Thus, such chondrocytes seem to fulfil the prerequisites for use in ACT treatment.
PMCID: PMC2206334  PMID: 17596264
12.  Osteoclast-independent bone resorption by fibroblast-like cells 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2003;5(3):R163-R173.
To date, mesenchymal cells have only been associated with bone resorption indirectly, and it has been hypothesized that the degradation of bone is associated exclusively with specific functions of osteoclasts. Here we show, in aseptic prosthesis loosening, that aggressive fibroblasts at the bone surface actively contribute to bone resorption and that this is independent of osteoclasts. In two separate models (a severe combined immunodeficient mouse coimplantation model and a dentin pit formation assay), these cells produce signs of bone resorption that are similar to those in early osteoclastic resorption. In an animal model of aseptic prosthesis loosening (i.e. intracranially self-stimulated rats), it is shown that these fibroblasts acquire their ability to degrade bone early on in their differentiation. Upon stimulation, such fibroblasts readily release acidic components that lower the pH of their pericellular milieu. Through the use of specific inhibitors, pericellular acidification is shown to involve the action of vacuolar type ATPases. Although fibroblasts, as mesenchymal derived cells, are thought to be incapable of resorbing bone, the present study provides the first evidence to challenge this widely held belief. It is demonstrated that fibroblast-like cells, under pathological conditions, may not only enhance but also actively contribute to bone resorption. These cells should therefore be considered novel therapeutic targets in the treatment of bone destructive disorders.
PMCID: PMC165048  PMID: 12723988
aseptic prosthesis loosening; bone resorption; dentin; fibroblasts; severe combined immunodeficient mouse

Results 1-12 (12)