We are delighted to share a new STARSTEM publication – Progenitor Cells Activated by Platelet Lysate in Human Articular Cartilage as a Tool for Future Cartilage Engineering and Reparative Strategies. Several of our team members from the University of Genova recently published this article in Cells, an international peer-reviewed open access journal of cell biology, molecular biology, and biophysics.

Experimental design of cell cultures (articular chondrocytes (ACs) and chondro-progenitors (CPCs) from human articular cartilage biopsies.

Figure 1. Experimental design of cell cultures (articular chondrocytes (ACs) and chondro-progenitors (CPCs) from human articular cartilage biopsies.

The publication discusses the use of platelet lysate (PL). Platelet products attract much interest for their intrinsic capacity to induce endogenous reparative and regenerative mechanisms when administered both in vitro and in vivo. In their study, primary cultures of human articular chondrocytes (ACs) and cartilage explants were set up from donor hip joint biopsies and were treated in vitro with PL. The work demonstrates that PL exerts stimulant effects on articular cartilage, such as the promotion of chondrocyte proliferation, cell mobilization and activation of nestin-expressing progenitors. In particular, PL-recruited progenitor cells are able to migrate in response to inflammatory stimuli, show paracrine activity in attracting other cells (ideally toward injured sites) and display high chondrogenic potential and resistance to hypertrophy. Thus, they might replace damaged chondrocytes in a compromised cartilage environment, thus representing a promising target for future therapeutic approach for cartilage disorders.

 

Abstract: Regenerative strategies for human articular cartilage are still challenging despite the presence of resident progenitor cell population. Today, many efforts in the field of regenerative medicine focus on the use of platelet derivatives due to their ability to reactivate endogenous mechanisms supporting tissue repair. While their use in orthopedics continues, mechanisms of action and efficacy need further characterization. We describe that the platelet lysate (PL) is able to activate chondro-progenitor cells in a terminally differentiated cartilage tissue. Primary cultures of human articular chondrocytes (ACs) and cartilage explants were set up from donor hip joint biopsies and were treated in vitro with PL. PL recruited a chondro-progenitors (CPCs)-enriched population from ex vivo cartilage culture, that showed high proliferation rate, clonogenicity and nestin expression. CPCs were positive for in vitro tri-lineage differentiation and formed hyaline cartilage-like tissue in vivo without hypertrophic fate. Moreover, the secretory profile of CPCs was analyzed, together with their migratory capabilities. Some CPC-features were also induced in PL-treated ACs compared to fetal bovine serum (FBS)-control ACs. PL treatment of human articular cartilage activates a stem cell niche responsive to injury. These facts can improve the PL therapeutic efficacy in cartilage applications.

You can read the open-access paper online or download the PDF.

  STARSTEM has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 761214. The material presented and views expressed here are the responsibility of the author(s) only. The EU Commission takes no responsibility for any use made of the information set out.