MATERIALS AND METHODS: Human adipose-derived stem cells at passage 4 were evaluated by flow cytometry to examine the expression of surface markers. These adipose-derived stem cells were tested for adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation capacity. Ribonucleic acid was extracted from the cells for quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis to determine the expression levels of chondrogenic genes after chondrogenic induction.
RESULTS: Human adipose-derived stem cells were strongly positive for the mesenchymal markers CD90, CD73, CD44, CD9, and histocompatibility antigen and successfully differentiated into adipogenic and osteogenic lineages. The human adipose-derived stem cells aggregated and formed a dense matrix after chondrogenic induction. The expression of chondrogenic genes (collagen type II, aggrecan core protein, collagen type XI, COMP, and ELASTIN) was significantly higher after the first week of induction. However, a significantly elevated expression of collagen type X was observed after three weeks of chondrogenic induction.
CONCLUSION: Human adipose-derived stem cells retain stem cell characteristics after expansion in culture to passage 4 and serve as a feasible source of cells for cartilage regeneration. Chondrogenesis in human adipose-derived stem cells was most prominent after one week of chondrogenic induction.