Characterization of Chondrogenic Gene Expression and Cartilage Phenotype Differentiation in Human Breast Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Promoted by Ginsenoside Rg1 In Vitro

Fang-Tian Xu, Hong-Mian Li, Cheng-Yi Zhao, Zhi-Jie Liang, Min-Hong Huang, Qing Li, Ying-Chao Chen, Gang-Yi Chi
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 2015, 37 (5): 1890-902

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Investigating and understanding chondrogenic gene expression during the differentiation of human breast adipose-derived stem cells (HBASCs) into chondrogenic cells is a prerequisite for the application of this approach for cartilage repair and regeneration. In this study, we aim to characterize HBASCs and to examine chondrogenic gene expression in chondrogenic inductive culture medium containing ginsenoside Rg1.

METHODS: Human breast adipose-derived stem cells at passage 3 were evaluated based on specific cell markers and their multilineage differentiation capacity. Cultured HBASCs were treated either with basic chondrogenic inductive conditioned medium alone (group A, control) or with basic chondrogenic inductive medium plus 10 µg/ml (group B), 50 µg/ml (group C), or 100µg/ml ginsenoside Rg1 (group D). Cell proliferation was assessed using the CCK-8 assay for a period of 9 days. Two weeks after induction, the expression of chondrogenic genes (collagen type II, collagen type XI, ACP, COMP and ELASTIN) was determined using real-time PCR in all groups.

RESULTS: The different concentrations of ginsenoside Rg1 that were added to the basic chondrogenic inductive culture medium promoted the proliferation of HBASCs at earlier stages (groups B, C, and D) but resulted in chondrogenic phenotype differentiation and higher mRNA expression of collagen type II (CO-II), collagen type XI (CO-XI), acid phosphatase (ACP), cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and ELASTIN compared with the control (group A) at later stages. The results reveal an obvious positive dose-effect relationship between ginsenoside Rg1 and the proliferation and chondrogenic phenotype differentiation of HBASCs in vitro.

CONCLUSIONS: Human breast adipose-derived stem cells retain stem cell characteristics after expansion in culture through passage 3 and serve as a feasible source of cells for cartilage regeneration in vitro. Chondrogenesis in HBASCs was found to be prominent after chondrogenic induction in conditions containing ginsenoside Rg1.

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