Immunohistochemical localization of versican and tenascin-C were performed; the periosteum of ossifying mandible and the perichondrium of Meckel's cartilage, of vertebral cartilage, and of mandibular condylar cartilage were examined in midterm human fetuses. Versican immunoreactivity was restricted and evident only in perichondrium of Meckel's cartilage and vertebral cartilage; conversely, tenascin-C immunoreactivity was only evident in periosteum. Therefore, versican and tenascin-C can be used as molecular markers for human fetal perichondrium and fetal periosteum, respectively. Meckel's cartilage underwent endochondral ossification when it was incorporated into the ossifying mandible at the deciduous lateral incisor region. Versican immunoreactivity in the perichondrium gradually became weak toward the anterior primary bone marrow. Tenascin-C immunoreactivity in the primary bone marrow was also weak, but tenascin-C positive areas did not overlap with versican-positive areas; therefore, degradation of the perichondrium probably progressed slowly. Meanwhile, versican-positive perichondrium and tenascin-C-positive periosteum around the bone collar in vertebral cartilage were clearly discriminated. Therefore, the degradation of Meckel's cartilage perichondrium during endochondral ossification occurred at a different rate than did degradation of vertebral cartilage perichondrium. Additionally, the perichondrium of mandibular condylar cartilage showed tenascin-C immunoreactivity, but not versican immunoreactivity. That perichondrium of mandibular condylar cartilage has immunoreactivity characteristic of other periosteum tissues may indicate that this cartilage is actually distinct from primary cartilage and representative of secondary cartilage.
Here, we present evidence that the tumor-like growth of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) is suppressed by short-term serum-free culture, which is reversed by pharmacological inhibition of Gsk3?. Mouse ESCs maintained under standard conditions using fetal bovine serum (FBS) were cultured in a uniquely formulated chemically-defined serum-free (CDSF) medium, namely ESF7, for three passages before being subcutaneously transplanted into immunocompromised mice. Surprisingly, the mESCs failed to produce teratomas for up to six months, whereas mESCs maintained under standard conditions generated well-developed teratomas in five weeks. Mouse ESCs cultured under CDSF conditions maintained the expression of Oct3/4, Nanog, Sox2 and SSEA1, and differentiated into germ cells in vivo. In addition, when mESCs were cultured under CDSF conditions supplemented with FBS, or when the cells were cultured under CDSF conditions followed by standard culture conditions, they consistently developed into teratomas. Thus, these results validate that the pluripotency of mESCs was not compromised by CDSF conditions. Mouse ESCs cultured under CDSF conditions proliferated significantly more slowly than mESCs cultured under standard conditions, and were reminiscent of Eras-null mESCs. In fact, their slower proliferation was accompanied by the downregulation of Eras and c-Myc, which regulate the tumor-like growth of mESCs. Remarkably, when mESCs were cultured under CDSF conditions supplemented with a pharmacological inhibitor of Gsk3?, they efficiently proliferated and developed into teratomas without upregulation of Eras and c-Myc, whereas mESCs cultured under standard conditions expressed Eras and c-Myc. Although the role of Gsk3? in the self-renewal of ESCs has been established, it is suggested with these data that Gsk3? governs the tumor-like growth of mESCs by means of a mechanism different from the one to support the pluripotency of ESCs.
CTRP3/cartducin, a novel C1q family protein, is expressed in proliferating chondrocytes in the growth plate and has an important role in regulating the growth of both chondrogenic precursors and chondrocytes in vitro. We examined the expression of CTRP3/cartducin mRNA in Meckels cartilage and in condylar cartilage of the fetal mouse mandible. Based on in situ hybridization studies, CTRP3/cartducin mRNA was not expressed in the anlagen of Meckels cartilage at embryonic day (E)11.5, but it was strongly expressed in Meckels cartilage at E14.0, and then reduced in the hypertrophic chondrocytes at E16.0. CTRP3/cartducin mRNA was not expressed in the condylar anlagen at E14.0, but was expressed in the upper part of newly formed condylar cartilage at E15.0. At E16.0, CTRP3/cartducin mRNA was expressed from the polymorphic cell zone to the upper part of the hypertrophic cell zone, but was reduced in the lower part of the hypertrophic cell zone. CTRP3/cartducin-antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (AS-ODN) treatment of Meckels cartilage and condylar anlagen from E14.0 using an organ culture system indicated that, after 4-day culture, CTRP3/cartducin abrogation induced curvature deformation of Meckels cartilage with loss of the perichondrium and new cartilage formation. Aggrecan, type I collagen, and tenascin-C were simultaneously immunostained in this newly formed cartilage, indicating possible transformation from the perichondrium into cartilage. Further, addition of recombinant mouse CTRP3/cartducin protein to the organ culture medium with AS-ODN tended to reverse the deformation. These results suggest a novel function for CTRP3/cartducin in maintaining the perichondrium. Moreover, AS-ODN induced a deformation of the shape, loss of the perichondrium/fibrous cell zone, and disorder of the distinct architecture of zones in the mandibular condylar cartilage. Additionally, AS-ODN-treated condylar cartilage showed reduced levels of mRNA expression of aggrecan, collagen types I and X, and reduced BrdU-incorporation. These results suggest that CTRP3/cartducin is not only involved in the proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes, but also contributes to the regulation of mandibular condylar cartilage.
Maintaining undifferentiated mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) culture has been a major challenge as mESCs cultured in Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) conditions exhibit spontaneous differentiation, fluctuating expression of pluripotency genes, and genes of specialized cells. Here we show that, in sharp contrast to the mESCs seeded on the conventional rigid substrates, the mESCs cultured on the soft substrates that match the intrinsic stiffness of the mESCs and in the absence of exogenous LIF for 5 days, surprisingly still generated homogeneous undifferentiated colonies, maintained high levels of Oct3/4, Nanog, and Alkaline Phosphatase (AP) activities, and formed embryoid bodies and teratomas efficiently. A different line of mESCs, cultured on the soft substrates without exogenous LIF, maintained the capacity of generating homogeneous undifferentiated colonies with relatively high levels of Oct3/4 and AP activities, up to at least 15 passages, suggesting that this soft substrate approach applies to long term culture of different mESC lines. mESC colonies on these soft substrates without LIF generated low cell-matrix tractions and low stiffness. Both tractions and stiffness of the colonies increased with substrate stiffness, accompanied by downregulation of Oct3/4 expression. Our findings demonstrate that mESC self-renewal and pluripotency can be maintained homogeneously on soft substrates via the biophysical mechanism of facilitating generation of low cell-matrix tractions.
Versican is a large, aggregating chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan. In dental tissue, versican expression occurs primarily in mesenchymal tissue but rarely in epithelial tissue. We investigated the expression, localisation and synthesis of versican in the enamel organ of the developing tooth germ.
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