Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Arthritis Research & Therapy and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Properties and usefulness of aggregates of synovial mesenchymal stem cells as a source for cartilage regeneration

Shiro Suzuki1, Takeshi Muneta12, Kunikazu Tsuji2, Shizuko Ichinose3, Hatsune Makino4, Akihiro Umezawa4 and Ichiro Sekiya5*

Author affiliations

1 Section of Orthopedic Surgery, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan

2 Global Center of Excellence Program, International Research Center for Molecular Science in Tooth and Bone Diseases, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan

3 Instrumental Analysis Research Center, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan

4 Department of Reproductive Biology, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, 2-10-1 Okura, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan

5 Section of Cartilage Regeneration, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R136  doi:10.1186/ar3869

Published: 7 June 2012

Abstract

Introduction

Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from synovium is a promising therapy for cartilage regeneration. For clinical application, improvement of handling operation, enhancement of chondrogenic potential, and increase of MSCs adhesion efficiency are needed to achieve a more successful cartilage regeneration with a limited number of MSCs without scaffold. The use of aggregated MSCs may be one of the solutions. Here, we investigated the handling, properties and effectiveness of aggregated MSCs for cartilage regeneration.

Methods

Human and rabbit synovial MSCs were aggregated using the hanging drop technique. The gene expression changes after aggregation of synovial MSCs were analyzed by microarray and real time RT-PCR analyses. In vitro and in vivo chondrogenic potential of aggregates of synovial MSCs was examined.

Results

Aggregates of MSCs cultured for three days became visible, approximately 1 mm in diameter and solid and durable by manipulation; most of the cells were viable. Microarray analysis revealed up-regulation of chondrogenesis-related, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic genes in aggregates of MSCs. In vitro studies showed higher amounts of cartilage matrix synthesis in pellets derived from aggregates of MSCs compared to pellets derived from MSCs cultured in a monolayer. In in vivo studies in rabbits, aggregates of MSCs could adhere promptly on the osteochondral defects by surface tension, and stay without any loss. Transplantation of aggregates of MSCs at relatively low density achieved successful cartilage regeneration. Contrary to our expectation, transplantation of aggregates of MSCs at high density failed to regenerate cartilage due to cell death and nutrient deprivation of aggregates of MSCs.

Conclusions

Aggregated synovial MSCs were a useful source for cartilage regeneration considering such factors as easy preparation, higher chondrogenic potential and efficient attachment.