Differential expression of multiple genes during articular chondrocyte redifferentiation

Dominik R. Haudenschild, John M. McPherson, Ross Tubo, Binette François

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Articular chondrocytes undergo a rapid change in phenotype and gene expression, termed dedifferentiation, when isolated from cartilage tissue and cultured on tissue culture plastic. On the other hand, "redifferentiation" of articular chondrocytes in suspension culture is characterized by decreased cellular proliferation and the reinitiation of synthesis of hyaline articular cartilage extracellular matrix molecules. The molecular triggers for these events have yet to be defined. Subtracted cDNA libraries representing genes involved in the early events of adult human articular chondrocyte redifferentiation were generated from human articular chondrocytes that were first cultured in monolayer, and subsequently transferred to suspension culture at 106 cells/ml for redifferentiation. Differential regulation of genes involved in cellular organization, nuclear structure, cellular growth regulation, and extracellular matrix deposition and remodeling were observed within 48 hr of this transfer. Many of these genes had not been previously identified in the chondrocyte differentiation pathway anda number of the isolated cDNAs did not have homologies to sequences in the public data banks. Genes involved in IL-6 signal transduction including acute phase response factor (APRF), Mn superoxide dismutase, and IL-6 itself were up-regulated in suspension culture. Membrane glycoprotein gp130, a component of the IL-6 receptor, was down-regulated. Other genes involved in cell polarity, cell adherence, apoptosis, and possibly TGF-beta signaling were differentially regulated. The differential regulation of the cytokine connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) during the early stages of articular chondrocyte redifferentiation, decreasing within 48 hours of transfer to suspension culture, was particularly interesting given its reported role in the stimulation of cellular proliferation. CTGF was highly expressed in proliferative monolayer culture, and then greatly reduced by redifferentiation in standard high-density suspension culture. When articular chondrocytes were seeded in suspension at low-density (104 cells/ml), however, high levels of CTGF were observed along with increased levels of mature articular cartilage extracellular matrix protein RNAs, such as type II collagen and aggrecan. Although the role of CTGF in articular cartilage biology remains to be elucidated, the results described here demonstrate the potential utility of subtractive hybridization in understanding the process of articular chondrocyte redifferentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2001


  • Articular cartilage
  • Cell differentiation
  • Chondrocytes
  • Cultured cells
  • Gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential expression of multiple genes during articular chondrocyte redifferentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this