Molecular medicine reports

A genome-wide analysis of the gene expression profiles and alternative splicing events during the hypoxia-regulated osteogenic differentiation of human cartilage endplate-derived stem cells.

PMID 28656244


It has been hypothesized that intervertebral disc degeneration is initiated by degeneration of the cartilage endplate (CEP), which is characterized by cartilage ossification. CEP‑derived stem cells (CESCs), with the potential for chondro‑osteogenic differentiation, may be responsible for the balance between chondrification and ossification in the CEP. The CEP remains in an avascular and hypoxic microenvironment; the present study observed that hypoxia was able to markedly inhibit the osteogenic differentiation of CESCs. This tissue‑specific CESC differentiation in response to a hypoxic microenvironment was physiologically important for the prevention of ossification in the CEP. In order to study the hypoxia‑regulated mechanisms underlying osteogenic differentiation of CESCs, a Human Transcriptome Array 2.0 was used to detect differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and alternatively spliced genes (ASGs) during the osteogenic differentiation of CESCs under hypoxia, compared with those induced under normoxia. High‑throughput analysis of DEGs and ASGs demonstrated that genes in the complement pathway were enriched, which may be a potential mechanism underlying hypoxia inhibition of CESCs osteogenesis. The results of the present study may provide a basis for future mechanistic studies regarding gene expression levels and alternative splicing events during the hypoxia‑regulated inhibition of osteogenesis, which may be helpful in identifying targets for CEP degeneration therapy.