Experimental Cell Research vol:192 issue:2 pages:340-5
Chondrocytes lose their phenotypic traits, including type II collagen, after serial passage in monolayer cultures. Osteogenin, a bone morphogenetic protein, induces cartilage and bone in nonskeletal sites. This investigation examined the ability of osteogenin to promote the reexpression of cartilage phenotype by dedifferentiated chondrocytes obtained from rabbit articular cartilage. The results revealed that osteogenin, in synergism with selected growth factors, promoted the reexpression of type II collagen and proteoglycans by dedifferentiated chondrocytes in agarose. Insulin, a constituent of the basal medium, appeared to be essential for the colony-forming aspect of this phenomenon, since when insulin was replaced by insulin-like growth factor-1 colony formation did not occur. Epidermal growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and basic fibroblast growth factor appeared to be an optimal combination for the action of osteogenin. Neutralizing antibodies to transforming growth factor-beta did not influence the response to osteogenin. It is noteworthy that, compared to freshly passaged cells, those stored in liquid nitrogen were not as responsive to osteogenin and growth factors. A higher concentration of fibroblast growth factor in conjunction with osteogenin and PDGF, increased the responsiveness of frozen cells only in part, as the Alcian blue-positive proteoglycan matrix was not restored completely.