, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 415–421 | Cite as

Ghrelin accelerates the cartilagic differentiation of rabbit mesenchymal stem cells through the ERK1/2 pathway

Original Article


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate into chondroblasts, adipocytes, or cartilage under appropriate stimulation. Identifying a mechanism triggering the differentiation of MSCs into cartilage may help develop novel therapeutic approaches for treating heterotopic ossification, the pathological formation of lamellar bone in soft tissue outside the skeleton that can lead to debilitating immobility. Ghrelin, an endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor, stimulates growth hormone secretion, and has both orexigenic and adipogenic effects. This study sought to understand the potential involvement of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway in the ghrelin-induced growth of rat MSCs (rMSCs). We applied various concentrations of ghrelin to cultured rMSCs by observing the changes in the phosphorylation state of ERK1/2, p38, JNK as well as the type II collagen expression levels by western blot. The highest expression level for both type II collagen was obtained with 600 ng/mL ghrelin at 24 h. We found that the ghrelin-induced differentiation of rMSCs into cartilage was promoted primarily by the ERK1/2 pathway. Our study suggests that ghrelin induced differentiation of rMSCs into cartilage primarily through the ERK1/2 pathway.


rMSCs MAPK Ghrelin Cartilage differentiation ERK1/2 



This work was supported by Inner Mongolia Natural Science Foundation (No. 2017BS0813).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cervical SurgeryThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical UniversityHohhotChina

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