Stem cells and development

Intermittent PTHrP(1-34) exposure augments chondrogenesis and reduces hypertrophy of mesenchymal stromal cells.

PMID 24836507


Phenotype instability and premature hypertrophy prevent the use of human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) for cartilage regeneration. Aim of this study was to investigate whether intermittent supplementation of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), as opposed to constant treatment, can beneficially influence MSC chondrogenesis and to explore molecular mechanisms below catabolic and anabolic responses. Human MSCs subjected to chondrogenic induction in high-density culture received PTHrP(1-34), forskolin, dbcAMP, or PTHrP(7-34) either constantly or via 6-h pulses (three times weekly), before proteoglycan, collagen type II, and X deposition; gene expression; and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity were assessed. While constant application of PTHrP(1-34) suppressed chondrogenesis of MSCs, pulsed application significantly increased collagen type 2 (COL2A1) gene expression and the collagen type II, proteoglycan, and DNA content of pellets after 6 weeks. Collagen type 10 (COL10A1) gene expression was little affected but Indian hedgehog (IHH) expression and ALP activity were significantly downregulated by pulsed PTHrP. A faster response to PTHrP exposure was recorded for ALP activity over COL2A1 regulation, suggesting that signal duration is critical for catabolic versus anabolic reactions. Stimulation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling by forskolin reproduced major effects of both treatment modes, whereas application of PTHrP(7-34) capable of protein kinase C (PKC) signaling was ineffective. Pulsed PTHrP exposure of MSCs stimulated chondrogenesis and reduced endochondral differentiation apparently uncoupling chondrogenic matrix deposition from hypertrophic marker expression. cAMP/PKA was the major signaling pathway triggering the opposing effects of both treatment modes. Intermittent application of PTHrP represents an important novel means to improve chondrogenesis of MSCs and may be considered as a supporting clinical-treatment mode for MSC-based cartilage defect regeneration.