A biophysical approach to quantify skeletal stem cells trans-differentiation as a model for the study of osteoporosis

Petecchia, L., Viti, F., Sbrana, F., Vassalli, M. and Gavazzo, P. (2017) A biophysical approach to quantify skeletal stem cells trans-differentiation as a model for the study of osteoporosis. Biophysical Chemistry, 229, pp. 84-92. (doi: 10.1016/j.bpc.2017.05.011) (PMID:28578832)

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The stroma of human bone marrow contains a population of skeletal stem cells (hBM-MSC) which are common ancestors, among the others, of osteoblasts and adipocytes. It has been proposed that the imbalance between hBM-MSC osteogenesis and adipogenesis, which naturally accompanies bone marrow senescence, may contribute to the development of bone-associated diseases, like osteoporosis. The possibility to reproduce this mechanism in vitro has been demonstrated, providing a good model to disclose the details of the complex bone-fat generation homeostasis. Nevertheless, the lack of a simple approach to quantitatively assess the actual stage of a cellular population hindered the adoption of this in vitro model. In this work, the direct differentiation of hBM-MSCs towards a single (osteo or adipo) lineage was characterized using quantitative biophysical and biological approaches, together with the parallel process of trans-differentiation from one lineage to the other. The results confirm that the original plasticity of hBM-MSCs is maintained along the initial stages of the differentiation, showing that in vitro conversion of pre-osteoblasts into adipocytes and, vice versa, of pre-adipocytes into osteoblasts is extremely efficient, comparable with the direct differentiation. Moreover, a method based on digital holography is proposed, providing a quantitative indication of the phenotype stage along differentiation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vassalli, Professor Massimo
Authors: Petecchia, L., Viti, F., Sbrana, F., Vassalli, M., and Gavazzo, P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Biophysical Chemistry
ISSN (Online):1873-4200
Published Online:26 May 2017

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