Scientific Article   |    
Phenotypic Plasticity of Human Articular Chondrocytes
T. Tallheden, BSc; J. E. Dennis, PhD; D. P. Lennon, DDS; E. Sjögren-Jansson, MSc; A. I. Caplan, PhD; A. Lindahl, MD, PhD
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2003 Apr 01;85(suppl 2):93-100
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case


Background: Progenitor cells in mesenchymal tissues are important in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and regeneration capacity. Articular cartilage is a tissue with a very low capacity for repair. One explanation could be the lack of chondrogenic progenitor cells within the adult tissue. As a test of chondrogenic differentiation potential, we examined the ability of isolated chondrocytes to take on several phenotypic identities within the mesenchymal lineage by applying culture techniques and markers used in the study of the phenotypic plasticity of marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

Methods: Culture-expanded human articular chondrocytes were analyzed for chondrogenic, adipogenic, and osteogenic capacity in defined in vitro culture systems. The osteochondrogenic potential of cells loaded into porous calcium-phosphate ceramic cubes implanted into mice was also determined.

Results: The different assays demonstrated that culture-expanded chondrocytes have the potential to form cartilage in pellet mass cultures, to form adipose cells in dense monolayer cultures, and to form a calcium-rich matrix in an osteogenic assay. In the in vitro assays, a variability of phenotypic plasticity was demonstrated among the donors. In contrast with MSCs, chondrocytes formed cartilage only (and not bone) in the in vivo osteochondrogenic assay.

Conclusions: These results suggest that, within articular cartilage, there are chondrogenic cells that exhibit a level of phenotypic plasticity that is comparable with that of MSCs. However, there was a difference in the expression of bone in the in vivo assay.

Clinical Relevance: Chondrogenic cells may play an important role in the control of cartilage tissue homeostasis. Because of their plasticity, this population could be targeted in vivo for tissue regeneration or could be enriched for transplantation purposes.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    PubMed Articles
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    NY - Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    VA - OrthoVirginia
    LA - Ochsner Health System