Searching for Chondroprogenitors in Articular Cartilage

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Laboratorinė medicina. 2009,
t. 11,
Nr. 3,
p. 172 -

Articular cartilage chondrocytes have very slow turnover and their ca­pacity for regeneration and repair are still questionable. The reasons for low repair potential are not clearly understood. Articular cartilage lacks blood or lymphatic vessels, therefore, the immune system cells do not reach the lesion and it does not heal. For the long period it was postu­lated, that chondrocytes in the adult articular cartilage are terminally differentiated. Nevertheless, various studies have shown that the sur­face zone of articular cartilage is involved in the regulation of tissue de­velopment and growth. Recently it is becoming apparent that articular cartilage grows appositionally from the articular surface, suggesting the existence of chondroprogenitor cells in this region. Identification of such cells is of great importance in the tissue engineering for restoration of in­jured or osteoarthritic cartilage. Different cell surface markers (CD105, CD166, Stro-1, Jagged1, BMPr1a and N-cadherin) and selection meth­ods, such as differential adhesion to fibronectin, isolation of side popula­tion (SP) cells were used by scientists with attempt to identify and select those possibly progenitor cells from articular cartilage. The majority of the markers were shown to be attributes of the cells form articular sur­face, possessing greater plasticity and differentiation potential. There were also differences between young and old individuals, suggesting that the number of highly proliferating cells in the articular cartilage de­creases with the age. Even though there is still no reliable single marker for selection of the progenitor cells in cartilage, the cells capable to repair articular cartilage defects are likely to exist in the cartilage.


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