Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 1339–1346 | Cite as

Chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells: a comparison between micromass and pellet culture systems

  • Liangming Zhang
  • Peiqiang Su
  • Caixia Xu
  • Junlin Yang
  • Weihua Yu
  • Dongsheng HuangEmail author
Original Research Paper


High-density cell culture is pivotal for the chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Two high-density cell culture systems, micromass and pellet culture, have been used to induce chondrogenic differentiation of hMSCs. In micromass culture, the induced-cartilage tissues were larger, more homogenous and enriched in cartilage-specific collagen II but the fibrocartilage-like feature, collagen I, and hypertrophic chondrocyte feature, collagen X, were markedly decreased compared to those in pellet culture. Furthermore, real time RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that collagen II and aggrecan mRNA were up-regulated while collagen X and collagen I mRNA were down-regulated in micromass culture. Thus, the micromass culture system is a promising tool for in vitro chondrogenic studies.


Chondrogenesis Mesenchymal stem cells Micromass culture Pellet culture Tissue engineering 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30971587), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (No. 2008B030301131) and the Yat-Sen Scholarship for Young Scientists.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liangming Zhang
    • 1
  • Peiqiang Su
    • 2
  • Caixia Xu
    • 3
  • Junlin Yang
    • 2
  • Weihua Yu
    • 4
  • Dongsheng Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedics, Second Affiliated HospitalSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedics, First Affiliated HospitalSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.School of Materials Science and EngineeringSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Center for Stem Cell Biology and Tissue EngineeringSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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