Characterizing the differentiation potential of muscle derived stem cells
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INTRODUCTION: Damage to the musculoskeletal system through disease, injury, or ageing can have long-lasting, and detrimental effects on one’s overall well-being. By understanding the processes by which the different tissues of the musculoskeletal system function and communicate, we can apply it to a variety of medical interventions that will benefit the patient population. These include reducing the prevalence of injury-inducing ectopic bone formation in muscle and slowing the degeneration of muscle and bone tissue associated with aging. A major focus is the relationship between muscle and bone tissue, specifically the stem cell populations found in each tissue type. Two genes that are thought to mark stem cell populations associated with muscle and bone tissue are Pax7 and Prx1, respectively. OBJECTIVES: Establish the capability and define optimal conditions to culture primary stem cells isolated from the muscle tissue of the reporter animals that fluorescently tag the Pax7 and Prx1 cell populations. Manipulate culture medium conditions to characterize the differentiation potential for multiple lineages, osteogenic, adipogenic, and myogenic. Lastly, assess whether there is more adipogenic cell differentiation in older animal cell cultures. METHODS: The tamoxifen inducible Pax7^tm1(cre/ER2)Gaka/J and Prx1^CreER-GFP were both crossed with B6.Cg-Gt(ROSA)26sor<tm14(CAG-tdTomato)Hze>/J to create the tamoxifen inducible Pax7/Ai14 and Prx1/Ai14 reporter mice. These animals were then crossed to the B6,129S7-Rag1^tm1Mom/J , creating the Pax7/Ai14/Rag and Prx1/Ai14/Rag reporter mice strains. This transgenic mouse model made it possible to fluorescently identify the Pax7 and Prx1 population of cells isolated from the muscle tissue and characterize the differentiation potential to different cell lineages in vitro. Cells were harvested from both male and female mice that received two tamoxifen injections. Cells were then cultured in various culture media conditions. Determination of specific cell densities, culture conditions, and differentiation time points were determined by manipulating these variables, and assessing the levels of proliferation and differentiation. Multiple assays were run in order to quantify and identify the different cell lineages that were grown in culture under different culture conditions. RESULTS: Cells grown on gelatin coated dishes at densities of 2.2x10^4 to 2.2x10^5 showed optimal performance in proliferation and differentiation. Cells grown in Growth Media containing Chick Embryo Extract (GM) and without (GM-) produced myogenic and adipogenic cell types that were positive for Prx1 expression. Prx1 positive cells grown in the Osteo-Inductive Media (GMOI) produced osteogenic cell types validated through tetracycline uptake. Pax7 expression was low in all culture media conditions. Finally, adipogenic cells were present in both younger and older animals. The adipogenic cells for both populations showed positive Prx1 expression. Younger animals showed a larger relative expression of Plin1 in qRT-PCR analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Although Prx1 is thought to be associated with bone tissue, Prx1 positive cells are located within the muscle and able to be cultured. This muscle derived Prx1 cell population is able to differentiate toward the myogenic, adipogenic, and osteogenic cell lineages. By altering the specific components of culture conditions such as extracellular matrices, seeding density, and media constituents, it is possible to force a particular lineage differentiation for Pax7 and Prx1 muscle derived stem cells. Further studies are needed to elucidate the differentiation potential of Prx1 cells isolated from animals of various ages. Additional in vivo studies are needed to understand the mechanisms surrounding the Prx1 and Pax7 population of cells with their roles in healing and regeneration in response to degeneration and trauma.