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Abstract

Objective

To isolate mesenchymal stem cells from adult horses and determine specific monolayer culture conditions required to enhance biochemically and phenotypically defined chondrocytic differentiation.

Animals

2 adult horse bone marrow donors without skeletal or hematologic abnormalities.

Procedure

Bone marrow was aspirated from the sternebra, and mesenchymal stem cells were isolated by centrifugation and cultured in monolayers. Subcultures were established in 24-well plates on day 13. Culture medium was harvested every 2 days, and culture of 12 of the 24 wells was terminated on day 6 and of the remaining wells on day 12. Medium proteoglycan content was determined for all samples, and proteoglycan monomeric size was determined for pooled samples from days 2-6 and 8-12. Total nucleated cell numbers were determined at culture termination on days 6 and 12. Histologic, histochemical, and collagen immunohistochemical analyses of multiwell chamber slides harvested on day 6 or 12 were performed.

Results

Mesenchymal cells were an abundant cellular constituent of bone marrow aspirates, and separation of hematopoietic elements was achieved by centrifugation and delayed medium exchange. The remaining mesenchymal stem cells progressed from large, spindyloid, fibroblastic-appearing cells to a rounder shaped cell which formed colony plaques; isolated cells remained more spindyloid. Mesenchymal cell transformation toward a chondrocytic phenotype was verified by a shift in expression from collagen type I to type II, and an increase in quantity and molecular size of proteoglycans synthesized over time.

Conclusions

Mesenchymal stem cells obtained from adult horses have the capacity to undergo chondrogenic differentiation in monolayer cultures and may provide a locally recruitable or transplantable autogenous cell source for articular cartilage repair. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59:1182-1187).

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research