Effects of platelet rich plasma and chondrocyte co-culture on MSC chondrogenesis, hypertrophy and pathological responses
Keywords:mesenchymal stem cell, AC:MSC co-culture, PRP, hypertrophy, angiogenesis, inflammation
Regarding the inadequate healing capability of cartilage tissue, cell-based therapy is making the future of cartilage repair and regeneration. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have shown great promise in cartilage regeneration. However, a yet-unresolved issue is the emergence of hypertrophic and pathologic markers during in vitro MSC chondrogenesis. Articular chondrocytes (AC) can suppress the undesired hypertrophy when co-cultured with MSC. On the other hand, platelet rich plasma (PRP), is considered potentially effective for cartilage repair and in-vitro chondrogenesis. We thus aimed to harness chondro-promotive effects of PRP and hypertrophic-suppressive effects of AC:MSC co-culture to achieve a more functional cartilage neo-tissue. We used PRP or conventional-differentiation chondrogenic media (ConvDiff) in MSC mono-cultures and AC:MSC co-cultures. We assessed gene expression of chondrogenic and hypertrophic markers using real-time RT-PCR and immunostaining. Alkaline-phosphatase activity (ALP) and calcium content of the pellets were quantified. We also measured VEGF and TNF-α secretion via ELISA. We showed PRP had higher chondrogenic potential (in mRNA and protein level) and hypertrophic-suppressive effects than Conv-Diff (mRNA level). Co-culturing reduced ALP while PRP increased calcium deposition. In all four groups, TNF-α was down-regulated compared to MSC controls, with co-cultures receiving ConvDiff media secreting the least. Meanwhile, the only group with increased VEGF secretion was PRP-mono-cultures. We observed synergistic effects for PRP and AC:MSC co-culture in enhancing chondrogenesis. Inclusion of AC reduced hypertrophic markers and angiogenic potential in PRP groups. We thus propose that combination of PRP and co-culture would favor chondrogenesis while alleviate but not totally eradicate undesired hypertrophic and pathologic responses.
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