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Ultrastructural analysis of mouse embryonic stem cell-derived chondrocytes

: Kramer, J.; Klinger, M.; Kruse, C.; Faza, M.; Harguss, G.; Rohwedel, J.


Anatomy and embryology 210 (2005), No.3, pp.175-185
ISSN: 0340-2061
ISSN: 0044-2232
ISSN: 1432-0568
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells cultivated as cellular aggregates, so called embryoid bodies (EBs), differentiate spontaneously into different cell types of all three germ layers in vitro resembling processes of cellular differentiation during embryonic development. Regarding chondrogenic differentiation, murine ES cells differentiate into progenitor cells, which form pre-cartilaginous condensations in the EB-outgrowths and express marker molecules characteristic for mesenchymal cell types such as Sox5 and Sox6. Later, mature chondrocytes appear which express collagen type II, and the collagen fibers show a typical morphology as demonstrated by electron-microscopical analysis. These mature chondrogenic cells are organized in cartilage nodules and produce large amounts of extracellular proteoglycans as revealed by staining with cupromeronic blue. Finally, cells organized in nodules express collagen type X, indicating the hypertrophic stage. In conclusion, differentiation of murine ES cells into chondrocytes proceeds from the undifferentiated stem cell via progenitor cells up to mature chondrogenic cells, which then undergo hypertrophy. Furthermore, because the ES-cell-derived chondrocytes did not express elastin, a marker for elastic cartilage tissue, we suggest the cartilage nodules to resemble hyaline cartilage tissue.