by Shinji Kobayashi, Takanori Takebe, Yun-Wen Zheng, Mitsuru Mizuno, Yuichiro Yabuki, Jiro Maegawa, Hideki Taniguchi
Based on evidence from several other tissues, cartilage stem/progenitor cells in the auricular cartilage presumably contribute to tissue development or homeostasis of the auricle. However, no definitive studies have identified or characterized a stem/progenitor population in mice auricle. Methodology/Principal Findings
The 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) label-retaining technique was used to label dividing cells in fetal mice. Observations one year following the labeling revealed that label-retaining cells (LRCs) were present specifically in auricular perichondrium at a rate of 0.08±0.06%, but LRCs were not present in chondrium. Furthermore, LRCs were successfully isolated and cultivated from auricular cartilage. Immunocytochemical analyses showed that LRCs express CD44 and integrin-a5. These LRCs, putative stem/progenitor cells, possess clonogenicity and chondrogenic capability in vitro. Conclusions/Significance
We have identified a population of putative cartilage stem/progenitor cells in the auricular perichondrium of mice. Further characterization and utilization of the cell population should improve our understanding of basic cartilage biology and lead to advances in cartilage tissue engineering and novel therapeutic strategies for patients with craniofacial defects, including long-term tissue restoration.