Chondrogenic differentiation of human embryonic stem cell-derived cells in arginine-glycine-aspartate-modified hydrogels

Nathaniel S. Hwang, Shyni Varghese, Zijun Zhang, Jennifer Elisseeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have the potential to self-renew and generate multiple cell types, producing critical building blocks for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications. Here, we describe the efficient derivation and chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal-Iike cells from hESCs, These cells exhibit mesencliymal stem cell (MSC) surface markers, including CD29, CD44, CD105, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α. Under appropriate growth conditions, the hESC-derived cells proliferated without phenotypic changes and maintained MSC surface markers. The chondrogenic capacity of the cells was studied in pellet culture and after encapsulation in poly(ethylene glycol)-diacrlate (PEGDA) hydrogels with exogenous extracellular proteins or arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD)-modified PEGDA hydrogels. The hESC-derived cells exhibited growth factor-dependent matrix production in pellet culture but did not produce tissue characteristic of cartilage morphology. In PEGDA hydrogels containing exogenous hyaluronic acid or type I collagen, no significant cell growth or matrix production was observed. In contrast, when these cells were encapsulated in RGD-modified poly(ethylene glycol)hydrogels, neocartilage with basophilic extracellular matrix deposition was observed within 3 weeks of culture, producing cartilage-specific gene up-regulation and extracellular matrix production. Our results indicate that precursor cells characteristic of a MSC population can be cultured from differentiating hESCs through embryoid bodies, thus holding great promise for a potentially unlimited source of cells for cartilage tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2695-2706
Number of pages12
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology


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