Differentiation of mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into nucleus pulposus-like cells in vitro.
A large percentage of the population may be expected to experience painful symptoms or disability associated with intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration - a condition characterized by diminished integrity of tissue components. Great interest exists in the use of autologous or allogeneic cells delivered to the degenerated IVD to promote matrix regeneration. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), derived from a patient's own somatic cells, have demonstrated their capacity to differentiate into various cell types although their potential to differentiate into an IVD cell has not yet been demonstrated. The overall objective of this study was to assess the possibility of generating iPSC-derived nucleus pulposus (NP) cells in a mouse model, a cell population that is entirely derived from notochord. This study employed magnetic activated cell sorting (MACS) to isolate a CD24(+) iPSC subpopulation. Notochordal cell-related gene expression was analyzed in this CD24(+) cell fraction via real time RT-PCR. CD24(+) iPSCs were then cultured in a laminin-rich culture system for up to 28 days, and the mouse NP phenotype was assessed by immunostaining. This study also focused on producing a more conducive environment for NP differentiation of mouse iPSCs with addition of low oxygen tension and notochordal cell conditioned medium (NCCM) to the culture platform. iPSCs were evaluated for an ability to adopt an NP-like phenotype through a combination of immunostaining and biochemical assays. Results demonstrated that a CD24(+) fraction of mouse iPSCs could be retrieved and differentiated into a population that could synthesize matrix components similar to that in native NP. Likewise, the addition of a hypoxic environment and NCCM induced a similar phenotypic result. In conclusion, this study suggests that mouse iPSCs have the potential to differentiate into NP-like cells and suggests the possibility that they may be used as a novel cell source for cellular therapy in the IVD.
Chen, J; Lee, EJ; Jing, L; Christoforou, N; Leong, KW; Setton, LA
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