Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMDMSCs) possess pluripotent differentiation potential including differentiation into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, and muscle cells. Using tissue engineering technology, the treatment of osteochondral lesions has been attempted with chondrocytes differentiated from mesenchymal stem cells in vitro. However, the capability of these stem cells for chondrogenic differentiation becomes gradually decreased with the passage of cell culture. Furthermore, previous studies showed that the cells from patients with osteoarthritis (OA) seemed to have reduced chondrogenic differentiation potential. It was reported that basic fibroblast growth factor (b-FGF) retained the multilinage differentiation potential of mesenchymal cells during expansion at the monolayer culture. In this study, we determined whether the BMDMSCs from patients with osteoarthritis could maintain their capability to differentiate into chondrocytes in the presence or absence of b-FGF in culture medium. We demonstrated that the chondrogenic differentiation capability of the BMDMSCs was improved by the addition of b-FGF. We concluded that bone marrow-derived stem cells from patients with osteoarthritis might be an acceptable cell source for cartilage tissue engineering.
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