Housekeeping Gene Stability in Human Mesenchymal Stem and Tendon Cells Exposed to Tenogenic Factors

Marco Viganò, Carlotta Perucca Orfei, Laura De Girolamo, John R. Pearson, Enrico Ragni, Paola De Luca, Alessandra Colombini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of biochemical inducers of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation into tenogenic lineage represents an investigated aspect of tendon disorder treatment. Bone morphogenetic protein 12 (BMP-12) is a widely studied factor, representing along with ascorbic acid (AA) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) one of the most promising stimulus in this context so far. Quantitative gene expression of specific tenogenic marker is commonly used to assess the efficacy of these supplements. Nevertheless, the reliability of these data is strongly associated with the choice of stable housekeeping genes. To date, no published studies have evaluated the stability of housekeeping genes in MSCs during tenogenic induction. Three candidate housekeeping genes (YWHAZ, RPL13A, and GAPDH) in human MSCs from bone marrow (BMSCs), adipose tissue (ASCs), and tendon cells (TCs) supplemented with BMP-12 or AA and bFGF in comparison with control untreated cells for 3 and 10 days were evaluated. GeNorm, NormFinder, and BestKeeper tools and the comparative "Ct method were used to evaluate housekeeping gene stability and the overall ranking was determined by using by the RefFinder algorithm. In all culture conditions, YWHAZ was the most stable gene and RPL13A was the second choice. YWHAZ and RPL13A were the two most stable genes also for ASCs and BMSCs, regardless of the time point analyzed, and for TCs at 10 days of tenogenic induction. Only for TCs at 3 days of tenogenic induction were GAPDH and YWHAZ the best performers. In conclusion, our findings will be useful for the proper selection of housekeeping genes in studies involving MSCs cultured in the presence of tenogenic factors, to obtain accurate and high-quality data from quantitative gene expression analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-367
Number of pages8
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • adipose-derived stem cells
  • bone marrow-derived stem cells
  • housekeeping
  • tendon cells
  • tenogenic differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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