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Exploiting endogenous fibrocartilage stem cells to regenerate cartilage and repair joint injury

Embree, Mildred C.; Chen, Mo; Pylawka, Serhiy; Kong, Danielle; Iwaoka, George M.; Kalajzic, Ivo; Yao, Hai; Shi, Chancheng; Sun, Dongming; Sheu, Tzong-Jen; Koslovsky, David A.; Koch, Alia; Mao, Jeremy J.

Tissue regeneration using stem cell-based transplantation faces many hurdles. Alternatively, therapeutically exploiting endogenous stem cells to regenerate injured or diseased tissue may circumvent these challenges. Here we show resident fibrocartilage stem cells (FCSCs) can be used to regenerate and repair cartilage. We identify FCSCs residing within the superficial zone niche in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) condyle. A single FCSC spontaneously generates a cartilage anlage, remodels into bone and organizes a haematopoietic microenvironment. Wnt signals deplete the reservoir of FCSCs and cause cartilage degeneration. We also show that intra-articular treatment with the Wnt inhibitor sclerostin sustains the FCSC pool and regenerates cartilage in a TMJ injury model. We demonstrate the promise of exploiting resident FCSCs as a regenerative therapeutic strategy to substitute cell transplantation that could be beneficial for patients suffering from fibrocartilage injury and disease. These data prompt the examination of utilizing this strategy for other musculoskeletal tissues.

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Title
Nature Communications
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13073

More About This Work

Academic Units
Dental Medicine
Publisher
Nature Publishing Group
Published Here
October 20, 2016