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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Horse bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells express embryo stem cell markers and show the ability for tenogenic differentiation by in vitro exposure to BMP-12

Stefania Violini*, Paola Ramelli, Laura F Pisani, Chiara Gorni and Paola Mariani

Author Affiliations

Livestock Genomics Unit, Parco Tecnologico Padano, CERSA, Via Einstein, Loc Cascina Codazza, 26900, Lodi, Italy

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BMC Cell Biology 2009, 10:29  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-10-29

Published: 22 April 2009



Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been recently investigated for their potential use in regenerative medicine. MSCs, in particular, have great potential, as in various reports they have shown pluripotency for differentiating into many different cell types. However, the ability of MSCs to differentiate into tendon cells in vitro has not been fully investigated.


In this study, we show that equine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs), defined by their expression of markers such as Oct4, Sox-2 and Nanog, have the capability to differentiate in tenocytes. These differentiated cells express tendon-related markers including tenomodulin and decorin. Moreover we show that the same BM-MSCs can differentiate in osteocytes, as confirmed by alkaline phosphatase and von Kossa staining.


As MSCs represent an attractive tool for tendon tissue repair strategies, our data suggest that bone marrow should be considered the preferred MSC source for therapeutic approaches.