Doing more with less

January 14, 2019

In adults, mesenchymal stems cells (MSCs) are primarily found in bone marrow and they play a vital role in repair of damaged organs. The transformation of a single MSC into complex tissue like cartilage and bone starts with its association with other MSCs in order to form microscopic clusters via a process termed as condensation. While it is known that this condensation step is important for skeletal development the exact role it plays in formation of bone and cartilage is not understood. A team led by Prof. Dr. Prasad Shastri and Dr. Melika Sarem of the Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Freiburg present evidence for autonomous control of chondrogenesis in MSCs. These findings are published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy.

They discovered that reducing the number of cells participating in condensation process leads to the activation of an intrinsic differentiation program. This prompts MSCs to become cartilage cells even in absence of chondro-inductive growth factors irrespective of donor age and sex. Sarem and Shastri further identified that two cell-membrane proteins, Caveolin-1 and N-Cadherin are differentially regulated during the condensation step and function as interactive forces like a Yin-Yang of chondrogenic differentiation. "The fact that we need lesser cells to create better quality tissue is extremely exciting as it opens new avenues for stem cell therapies" summarizes Sarem.

In collaboration with Dr. Oliver Otto, at the University of Greifswald, the Freiburg researchers demonstrated that the chondrogenic potential of MSCs correlates with emergence of a stiffer phenotype and increase in cell size. Their findings allude to a hitherto unknown mechanobiology paradigm in MSC differentiation. "Since MSCs harvested from adult bone marrow are a heterogeneous population of cells and their ability to undergo differentiation into cartilage or bone cells varies from donor to donor, our findings have significant implication for MSC-based strategies for engineering cartilage and bone tissue," explains Shastri.
-end-
Prasad Shastri is the Professor of Biofunctional Macromolecular Chemistry at the Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry and the Professor of Cell Signalling Environments in the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies at the University of Freiburg.

Original publication:

Sarem, M., Otto, O., Tanaka, S., Shastri, V. P. (2019): Cell number in mesenchymal stem cell aggregates dictates cell stiffness an chondrogenesis. In: Stem Cell Research & Therapy. DOI: 10.1186/s13287-018-1103-y

Contact:

Institut für Makromolekulare Chemie & BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

University of Freiburg

University of Freiburg

Related Bone Marrow Articles from Brightsurf:

Researchers identify the mechanism behind bone marrow failure in Fanconi anaemia
Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified the mechanism behind bone marrow failure developing in children that suffer from Fanconi anaemia.

Nanoparticles can turn off genes in bone marrow cells
Using specialized nanoparticles, MIT engineers have developed a way to turn off specific genes in cells of the bone marrow, which play an important role in producing blood cells.

How stress affects bone marrow
Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) identified the protein CD86 as a novel marker of infection- and inflammation-induced hematopoietic responses.

3D atlas of the bone marrow -- in single cell resolution
Stem cells located in the bone marrow generate and control the production of blood and immune cells.

Dangerous bone marrow, organ transplant complication explained
Scientists have discovered the molecular mechanism behind how the common cytomegalovirus can wreak havoc on bone marrow and organ transplant patients, according to a paper published in the journal Cell & Host Microbe.

Viagra shows promise for use in bone marrow transplants
Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have demonstrated a new, rapid method to obtain donor stem cells for bone marrow transplants using a combination of Viagra and a second drug called Plerixafor.

Bone marrow may be the missing piece of the fertility puzzle
A woman's bone marrow may determine her ability to start and sustain a pregnancy, report Yale researchers in PLOS Biology.

Cells that make bone marrow also travel to the womb to help pregnancy
Bone marrow-derived cells play a role in changes to the mouse uterus before and during pregnancy, enabling implantation of the embryo and reducing pregnancy loss, according to research published Sept.

Uncovering secrets of bone marrow cells and how they differentiate
Researchers mapped distinct bone marrow niche populations and their differentiation paths for the bone marrow factory that starts from mesenchymal stromal cells and ends with three types of cells -- fat cells, bone-making cells and cartilage-making cells.

Zebrafish help researchers explore alternatives to bone marrow donation
UC San Diego researchers discover new role for epidermal growth factor receptor in blood stem cell development, a crucial key to being able to generate them in the laboratory, and circumvent the need for bone marrow donation.

Read More: Bone Marrow News and Bone Marrow Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.