Fibrochondrogenic differentiation potential of tendon-derived stem/progenitor cells from human patellar tendon

Shengnan Qin, Wen Wang, Zhihe Liu, Xing Hua, Sai Chuen Fu, Fei Dong, Aiguo Li, Zhen Liu, Pengzhen Wang, Libing Dai, Peihong Liang, Jinli Zhang, Wenjuan Cao, Xifeng Xiong, Honghui Chen, Jiake Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Bone-tendon junction (BTJ) is a unique structure connecting tendon and bone through a fibrocartilage zone. Owing to its unique structure, the regeneration of BTJ remains a challenge. Here, we study the fibrochondrogenic differentiation of human tendon-derived stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) both in vitro and in vivo.

METHODS: TSPCs were isolated from human patellar tendon tissues and investigated for their multidifferentiation potential. TSPCs were cultured in chondrogenic medium with transforming growth factor beta 3 (TGF-β3) and BMP-2 in vitro ​and examined for the expression of fibrochondrogenic marker genes by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunofluorescence. TSPCs pretreated were also seeded in collage II sponge and then transplanted in immunocompromised nude mice to examine if the fibrochondrogenic characteristics were conserved in vivo.

RESULTS: We found that TSPCs were differentiated towards fibrochondrogenic lineage, accompanied by the expression of collagen I, collagen II, SRY-box transcription factor 9 (Sox 9), and tenascin C. Furthermore, after TSPCs were seeded in collagen II sponge and transplanted in immunocompromised nude mice, they expressed fibrochondrogenic genes, including proteoglycan, collagen I, and collagen II.

CONCLUSION: Taken together, this study showed that TSPCs are capable of differentiating towards fibrocartilage-like cells, and the fibrochondrogenic characteristics were conserved even in vivo, and thus might have the potential application for fibrocartilage regeneration in BTJ repair.

THE TRANSLATIONAL POTENTIAL OF THIS ARTICLE: TSPCs are able to differentiate into fibrocartilage-like cells and thus might well be one potential cell source for fibrocartilage regeneration in a damaged BTJ repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Translation
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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