Chondrogenic potential of human mesenchymal stem cells and expression of Slug transcription factor

Anna T. Brini, Stefania Niada, Elisabetta Lambertini, Elena Torreggiani, Elena Arrigoni, Gina Lisignoli, Roberta Piva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scientific literature rarely reports experimental failures or inconsistent outcomes in the induction of cell differentiation; however, researchers commonly experience poor or unsuccessful responses to differentiating agents when culturing stem cells. One way of investigating the underlying reasons for such responses is to look at the basal expression levels of specific genes in multipotent stem cells before the induction of differentiation. In addition to shedding light on the complex properties of stem cells and the molecular modulation of differentiation pathways, this strategy can also lead to the development of important time- and money-saving tools that aid the efficient selection of cellular specimens - in this case, stem cells that are more prone to differentiate towards specific lineages and are therefore more suitable for cell-based therapeutic protocols in regenerative medicine. To address this latter aspect, this study focused on understanding the reasons why some human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) samples are less efficient at differentiating towards chondrogenesis. This study shows that analysis of the basal expression levels of Slug, a negative regulator of chondrogenesis in hMSC, provides a rapid and simple tool for distinguishing stem cell samples with the potential to form a cartilage-like matrix, and that are therefore suitable for cartilage tissue engineering. It is shown that high basal levels of Slug prevent the chondrogenic differentiation of hMSCs, even in the presence of transforming growth factor-β and elevated levels of Sox9.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-744
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Chondrogenic differentiation
  • Gene expression
  • Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs)
  • Slug transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials


Dive into the research topics of 'Chondrogenic potential of human mesenchymal stem cells and expression of Slug transcription factor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this