Osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells promoted by overexpression of connective tissue growth factor

Jin-jing Wang, Feng Ye, Li-jia Cheng, Yu-jun Shi, Ji Bao, Huai-qiang Sun, Wei Wang, Peng Zhang, Hong Bu
Journal of Zhejiang University. Science. B 2009, 10 (5): 355-67

OBJECTIVE: Large segmental bone defect repair remains a clinical and scientific challenge with increasing interest focusing on combining gene transfection with tissue engineering techniques. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) on the proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of the bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

METHODS: A CTGF-expressing plasmid (pCTGF) was constructed and transfected into MSCs. Then expressions of bone morphogenesis-related genes, proliferation rate, alkaline phosphatase activity, and mineralization were examined to evaluate the osteogenic potential of the CTGF gene-modified MSCs.

RESULTS: Overexpression of CTGF was confirmed in pCTGF-MSCs. pCTGF transfection significantly enhanced the proliferation rates of pCTGF-MSCs (P<0.05). CTGF induced a 7.5-fold increase in cell migration over control (P<0.05). pCTGF transfection enhanced the expression of bone matrix proteins, such as bone sialoprotein, osteocalcin, and collagen type I in MSCs. The levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities of pCTGF-MSCs at the 1st and 2nd weeks were 4.0- and 3.0-fold higher than those of MSCs cultured in OS-medium, significantly higher than those of mock-MSCs and normal control MSCs (P<0.05). Overexpression of CTGF in MSCs enhanced the capability to form mineralized nodules.

CONCLUSION: Overexpression of CTGF could improve the osteogenic differentiation ability of MSCs, and the CTGF gene-modified MSCs are potential as novel cell resources of bone tissue engineering.

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