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Cells derived from murine induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) by treatment with members of TGF-beta family give rise to osteoblasts differentiation and form bone in vivo

Feng Li1 and Christopher Niyibizi12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Division of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, H089, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA, 17033, USA

2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Division of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2012, 13:35  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-13-35

Published: 15 December 2012



Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are generated by reprogramming somatic cells into embryonic like state (ESC) using defined factors. There is great interest in these cells because of their potential for application in regenerative medicine.


iPSC reprogrammed from murine tail tip fibroblasts were exposed to retinoic acid alone (RA) or in combination with TGF-β1 and 3, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) or bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2). The resulting cells expressed selected putative mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) markers; differentiated toward osteoblasts and adipocytic cell lineages in vitro at varying degrees. TGF-beta1 and 3 derived-cells possessed higher potential to give rise to osteoblasts than bFGF or BMP-2 derived-cells while BMP-2 derived cells exhibited a higher potential to differentiate toward adipocytic lineage. TGF-β1 in combination with RA derived-cells seeded onto HA/TCP ceramics and implanted in mice deposited typical bone. Immunofluorescence staining for bone specific proteins in cell seeded scaffolds tissue sections confirmed differentiation of the cells into osteoblasts in vivo.


The results demonstrate that TGF-beta family of proteins could potentially be used to generate murine iPSC derived-cells with potential for osteoblasts differentiation and bone formation in vivo and thus for application in musculoskeletal tissue repair and regeneration.

iPSC; Stem cells; Osteoblasts; TGF-beta; Bone formation