eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2012   Volume No 23 – pages 195-208

Title: Discrimination of meniscal cell phenotypes using gene expression profiles

Author: M Son, ME Levenston

Address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 233 Durand Building, Stanford, CA 94305-4038, USA

E-mail: levenston at

Key Words: Meniscus, cartilage, fibrocartilage, relative gene expression, tissue engineering, chondrocyte passaging, dedifferentiation

Publication date: March 22nd 2012

Abstract: The lack of quantitative and objective metrics to assess cartilage and meniscus cell phenotypes contributes to the challenges in fibrocartilage tissue engineering. Although functional assessment of the final resulting tissue is essential, initial characterization of cell sources and quantitative description of their progression towards the natural, desired cell phenotype would provide an effective tool in optimizing cell-based tissue engineering strategies. The purpose of this study was to identify quantifiable characteristics of meniscal cells and thereby find phenotypical markers that could effectively categorize cells based on their tissue of origin (cartilage, inner, middle, and outer meniscus). The combination of gene expression ratios collagen VI/collagen II, ADAMTS-5/collagen II, and collagen I/collagen II was the most effective indicator of variation among different tissue regions. We additionally demonstrate a possible application of these quantifiable metrics in evaluating the use of serially passaged chondrocytes as a possible cell source in fibrocartilage engineering. Comparing the ratios of the passaged chondrocytes and the native meniscal cells may provide direction to optimize towards the desired cell phenotype. We have thus shown that measurable markers defining the characteristics of the native meniscus can establish a standard by which different tissue engineering strategies can be objectively assessed. Such metrics could additionally be useful in exploring the different stages of meniscal degradation in osteoarthritis and provide some insight in the disease progression.

Article download: Pages 195-208 (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v023a15