Growth factor stimulation: Soluble factors such as TGF-beta, BMP2, GDF5, and extracellular matrix molecules such as collagens, hyaluronic acid, isoforms of fibronection and COMP have been shown to promote chondrogenesis. Another important factor is oxygen tension. Articular cartilage chondrocytes normally exist in a hypoxic (about 5% oxygen) environment. Interestingly, low oxygen tension in this range in vitro promotes cartilage-specific matrix production by chondrocytes, as well as chondrogenic differentiation of adult stem cells. Studies in the lab focus on the involvement of WNT and BMP signaling in chondrogenesis and mesenchymal stem cell differentiation.
- Jian Tan
- Riccardo Gottardi