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    Obtaining regeneration-competent cells and generating high-quality neocartilage are still challenges in articular cartilage tissue engineering. Although chondroprogenitor cells are a resident subpopulation of native cartilage and possess a high capacity for proliferation and cartilage formation, their potential for regenerative medicine has not been adequately explored. Fetal cartilage, another potential source with greater cellularity and a higher cell-matrix ratio than adult tissue, has been evaluated for sourcing cells to treat articular disorders. This study aimed to compare cartilage resident cells, namely chondrocytes, fibronectin adhesion assay-derived chondroprogenitors (FAA-CPCs) and migratory chondroprogenitors (MCPs) isolated from fetal and adult cartilage, to evaluate differences in their biological properties and their potential for cartilage repair. Following informed consent, three human fetal and three adult osteoarthritic knee joints were used to harvest the cartilage samples, from which the three cell types a) chondrocytes, b) FAA-CPCs, and MCPs were isolated. Assessment parameters consisted of flow cytometry analysis for percentage expression of cell surface markers, population doubling time and cell cycle analyses, qRT-PCR for markers of chondrogenesis and hypertrophy, trilineage differentiation potential and biochemical analysis of differentiated chondrogenic pellets for total GAG/DNA content. Compared to their adult counterparts, fetal cartilage-derived cells displayed significantly lower CD106 and higher levels of CD146 expression, indicative of their superior chondrogenic capacity. Moreover, all fetal groups demonstrated significantly higher levels of GAG/DNA ratio with enhanced uptake of collagen type 2 and GAG stains on histology. It was also noted that fetal FAA CPCs had a greater proliferative ability with significantly higher levels of the primary transcription factor SOX-9. Fetal chondrocytes and chondroprogenitors displayed a superior propensity for chondrogenesis when compared to their adult counterparts. To understand their therapeutic potential and provide an important solution to long-standing challenges in cartilage tissue engineering, focused research into its regenerative properties using in-vivo models is warranted. Copyright: © 2023 Vinod et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


    Elizabeth Vinod, Ganesh Parasuraman, Jeya Lisha J, Soosai Manickam Amirtham, Abel Livingston, Jithu James Varghese, Sandya Rani, Deepak Vinod Francis, Grace Rebekah, Alfred Job Daniel, Boopalan Ramasamy, Solomon Sathishkumar. Human fetal cartilage-derived chondrocytes and chondroprogenitors display a greater commitment to chondrogenesis than adult cartilage resident cells. PloS one. 2023;18(4):e0285106

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    PMID: 37104525

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