This study examined the effects of intermittent hydrostatic pressure (IHP) and transforming growth factor-beta 3 on chondrogenesis of adult human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in vitro. Chondrogenic gene expression was determined by quantifying mRNA signal levels for SOX9, a transcription factor critical for cartilage development and the cartilage matrix proteins, aggrecan and type II collagen. Extracellular matrix production was determined by weight and histology. IHP was applied to hMSCs in pellet culture at a level of 10 MPa and a frequency of 1 Hz for 4 h per day for periods of 3, 7, and 14 days. hMSCs responded to addition of TGF-beta 3 (10 ng/mL) with a greater than 10-fold increase (p < 0.01) in mRNA levels for each, SOX9, type II collagen, and aggrecan during a 14-day culture period. Applying IHP in the presence of TGF-beta 3 further increased the mRNA levels for these proteins by 1.9-, 3.3-, and 1.6-fold, respectively, by day 14. Chondrogenic mRNA levels were increased with just exposure to IHP. Extracellular matrix deposition of type II collagen and aggrecan increased in the pellets as a function of treatment conditions and time of culture. This study demonstrated adjunctive effects of IHP on TGF-beta 3-induced chondrogenesis and suggests that mechanical loading can facilitate articular cartilage tissue engineering.
View details for PubMedID 16846340