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Mesenchymal stem cells and their chondrogenic differentiated and dedifferentiated progeny express chemokine receptor CCR9 and chemotactically migrate toward CCL25 or serum

Mujib Ullah1*, Jan Eucker2, Michael Sittinger1 and Jochen Ringe1

Author Affiliations

1 Tissue Engineering Laboratory & Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany

2 Department of Hematology and Oncology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany

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Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2013, 4:99  doi:10.1186/scrt310

Published: 19 August 2013



Guided migration of chondrogenically differentiated cells has not been well studied, even though it may be critical for growth, repair, and regenerative processes. The chemokine CCL25 is believed to play a critical role in the directional migration of leukocytes and stem cells. To investigate the motility effect of serum- or CCL25-mediated chemotaxis on chondrogenically differentiated cells, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were induced to chondrogenic lineage cells.


MSC-derived chondrogenically differentiated cells were characterized for morphology, histology, immunohistochemistry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), surface profile, and serum- or CCL25-mediated cell migration. Additionally, the chemokine receptor, CCR9, was examined in different states of MSCs.


The chondrogenic differentiated state of MSCs was positive for collagen type II and Alcian blue staining, and showed significantly upregulated expression of COL2A1and SOX9, and downregulated expression of CD44, CD73, CD90, CD105 and CD166, in contrast to the undifferentiated and dedifferentiated states of MSCs. For the chondrogenic differentiated, undifferentiated, and dedifferentiated states of MSCs, the serum-mediated chemotaxis was in a percentage ratio of 33%:84%:85%, and CCL25-mediated chemotaxis was in percentage ratio of 12%:14%:13%, respectively. On the protein level, CCR9, receptor of CCL25, was expressed in the form of extracellular and intracellular domains. On the gene level, qPCR confirmed the expression of CCR9 in different states of MSCs.


CCL25 is an effective cue to guide migration in a directional way. In CCL25-mediated chemotaxis, the cell-migration rate was almost the same for different states of MSCs. In serum-mediated chemotaxis, the cell-migration rate of chondrogenically differentiated cells was significantly lower than that in undifferentiated or dedifferentiated cells. Current knowledge of the surface CD profile and cell migration could be beneficial for regenerative cellular therapies.

Chondrogenically differentiated cells; Stem cells; Cell migration; Chemotaxis; CCL25; CCR9