5. MMP-2, TIMP-2, TAZ and MEF2a Transcript Expression in Osteogenic and Adipogenic Differentiation of Porcine Mesenchymal Stem Cells

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Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation is regulated intrinsically by transcription factors and extrinsically by the extracellular matrix. We tested whether matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and its inhibitor TIMP-2, MEF2a and TAZ transcription factors are involved in porcine MSC differentiation towards adipocytes and osteocytes. Flow cytometry and immunofluorescence were used to investigate the expression levels of multipotent cell surface markers CD73 and CD105. Real- time PCR was performed to detect the osteogenic- and adipogenic-specific markers, osteocalcin and aP2, respectively, and to estimate the MMP-2, TIMP-2, MEF2a and TAZ transcript expression levels in three groups of cell, i.e., undifferentiated MSCs, adipocytes (A) and osteocytes (O). We showed that at the transcript level, the differentiation of MSCs towards adipocyte fate may involve MMP-2, TIMP-2 and TAZ. We also show that the differentiation of MSCs toward osteocyte fate may involve TIMP-2, MEF2a and TAZ. Our research provides preliminary data on the possible role of the MMP-2, TIMP-2 and TAZ transcripts in adipogenic differentiation and of the TIMP-2, TAZ and MEF2a transcripts in the osteogenic differentiation of porcine MSCs. We report for the first time the possible involvement of MEF2a in the osteogenesis of porcine MSCs. Our work may provide additional evidence for the MMP-independent function of TIMP-2 during osteogenesis.

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