, Volume 352, Issue 3, pp 509-521
Date: 22 Feb 2013

Tenogenic differentiation of equine adipose-tissue-derived stem cells under the influence of tensile strain, growth differentiation factors and various oxygen tensions

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Mesenchymal stem cells have become extremely interesting for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering in the horse. Stem cell therapy has been proven to be a powerful and successful instrument, in particular for the healing of tendon lesions. We pre-differentiated equine adipose-tissue-derived stem cells (ASCs) in a collagen I gel scaffold by applying tensile strain, growth differentiation factors (GDFs) and various oxygen tensions in order to determine the optimal conditions for in vitro differentiation toward the tenogenic lineage. We compared the influence of 3% versus 21% oxygen tension, the use of GDF 5, GDF 6 and GDF 7 and the application of uniaxial tensile strain versus no mechanical stimulation on differentiation results as evaluated by cell morphology and by the expression of the tendon-relevant genes collagen I, collagen III, cartilage oligomeric matrix protein and scleraxis. The best results were obtained with an oxygen tension of 21%, tensile stimulation and supplementation with GDF 5 or GDF 7. This approach raises the hope that the in vivo application of pre-differentiated stem cells will improve healing and recovery time in comparison with treatment involving undifferentiated stem cells.

O. Raabe and K. Shell contributed equally to this work.
The work was funded by the German Research Community, Bonn, Germany and carries the project identification “AR333/6-1”.