PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects exerted over chondrogenic commitment of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs) by a very low oxygen tension (<1% pO2).
MATERIALS/METHODS: Cell morphology, mRNA levels of chondrocyte-specific marker genes and the involvement of p38 MAPK signalling were monitored in human ADSCs under a very low oxygen tension.
RESULTS: Cell morphology was significantly changed after two days of hypoxic preconditioning when they featured as elongated spindle-shaped cells. SRY-box containing gene 9, aggrecan and collagen type II mRNA levels were enhanced under severe hypoxic culture conditions. Moreover, the inhibition of p38 MAPK resulted in a substantial reduction in transcription of the above-mentioned specific genes, proving the pivotal role of this pathway in the transcriptional regulation of chondrogenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: Here, we propose a protocol showing the early commitment of stem cells towards the chondrogenic phenotype in only 2 days of culture via a very low hypoxic environment, in the absence of growth factors added in the culture medium.
- Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells
- Chondrogenic commitment
- Translational medicine
- p38 MAPK