Intra-articular injection of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) promote rat meniscal regeneration by being activated to express Indian hedgehog that enhances expression of type II collagen.
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OBJECTIVE: Meniscal regeneration was previously shown to be enhanced by injection of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) but the mode of action of the MSCs was not established. The aim of this study was to define how injection of MSCs enhances meniscal regeneration. DESIGN: A hemi-meniscectomy model in rats was used. Rat-MSCs (rMSCs) or human-MSCs (hMSCs) were injected into the right knee joint after the surgery, and PBS was injected into the left. The groups were compared macroscopically and histologically at 2, 4, and 8 weeks. The changes in transcription in both human and rat genes were assayed by species-specific microarrays and real-time RT-PCRs. RESULTS: Although the number of hMSCs decreased with time, hMSCs enhanced meniscal regeneration in a manner similar to rMSCs. hMSCs injection increased expression of rat type II collagen (rat-Col II), and inhibited osteoarthritis progression. The small fraction of hMSCs was activated to express high levels of a series of genes including Indian hedgehog (Ihh), parathyroid hormone-like hormone (PTHLH), and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2). The presence of hMSCs triggered the subsequent expression of rat-Col II. An antagonist of hedgehog signaling inhibited the expression of rat-Col II and an agonist increased expression of rat-Col II in the absence of hMSCs. CONCLUSIONS: Despite rapid reduction in cell numbers, intra-articular injected hMSCs were activated to express Ihh, PTHLH, and BMP2 and contributed to meniscal regeneration. The hedgehog signaling was essential in enhancing the expression of rat-Col II, but several other factors provided by the hMSCs probably contributed to the repair.
author list (cited authors)
Horie, M., Choi, H., Lee, R. H., Reger, R. L., Ylostalo, J., Muneta, T., Sekiya, I., & Prockop, D. J
complete list of authors
Horie, M||Choi, H||Lee, RH||Reger, RL||Ylostalo, J||Muneta, T||Sekiya, I||Prockop, DJ