Published online Dec 26, 2019. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i12.1115
Peer-review started: February 27, 2019
First decision: August 1, 2019
Revised: October 14, 2019
Accepted: November 4, 2019
Article in press: November 4, 2019
Published online: December 26, 2019
Osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic age-related disease characterized by the slowly progressive destruction of articular cartilage, is one of the leading causes of disability. As a new strategy for treatment of OA, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential for articular cartilage regeneration. Meanwhile, thrombospondin 2 (TSP2) promotes the chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs.
To investigate whether TSP2 induces chondrogenic differentiation of human adipose-derived MSCs (hADMSCs) and potentiates the therapeutic effects of hADMSCs in OA rabbits.
We investigated the chondrogenic potential of TSP2 in hADMSCs by analyzing the expression of chondrogenic markers as well as NOTCH signaling genes in normal and TSP2 small interfering RNA (siRNA)-treated stem cells. Anterior cruciate ligament transection surgery was performed in male New Zealand white rabbits, and 8 wk later, hADMSCs (1.7 × 106 or 1.7 × 107 cells) were injected into the injured knees alone or in combination with intra-articular injection of TSP2 (100 ng/knee) at 2-d intervals. OA progression was monitored by gross, radiological, and histological examinations.
In hADMSC culture, treatment with TSP2 increased the expression of chondrogenic markers (SOX9 and collagen II) as well as NOTCH signaling genes (JAGGED1 and NOTCH3), which were inhibited by TSP2 siRNA treatment. In vivo, OA rabbits treated with hADMSCs or TSP2 alone exhibited lower degree of cartilage degeneration, osteophyte formation, and extracellular matrix loss 8 wk after cell transplantation. Notably, such cartilage damage was further alleviated by the combination of hADMSCs and TSP2. In addition, synovial inflammatory cytokines, especially tumor-necrosis factor-α, markedly decreased following the combination treatment.
The results indicate that TSP2 enhances chondrogenic differentiation of hADMSCs via JAGGED1/NOTCH3 signaling, and that combination therapy with hADMSCs and TSP2 exerts synergistic effects in the cartilage regeneration of OA joints.
Core tip: We demonstrated the role of thrombospondin 2 (referred to as TSP2) in the chondrogenic differentiation of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells in vitro and in osteoarthritis therapy with the cells in vivo. TSP2 induced chondrogenic differentiation via JAGGED1/NOTCH signaling, and potentiated the cartilage-restoring efficacy of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells.