has been discussed whether reduced glutathione (GSH) could promote the
chondrogenic differentiation ability of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem
cells (hUC-MSCs). hUC-MSCs were isolated from human umbilical cord and their
specificity was identified, then induced into cartilage-like cells in
chondrogenic induction medium with transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1), especially with GSH. The
morphological change before and after induction was observed through inverted
phase contrast microscope, Type II collagen (COL2-A1) and glycosaminoglycan
(GAG) were analyzed qualitatively by Toluidine blue and immunofluorescence
technique, respectively, the contents of COL2-A1 and GAG were estimated from
the determination of hydroxyproline content and Alcian Blue method separately.
The mRNA expressions of GAG and COL2-A1 were assayed by real-time
fluorescence quantitative PCR. After continuously cultured for 21 days with
GSH, Toluidine blue staining and immunofluorescence reaction were all
positive in basic induction medium group (group B), basic induction medium +0.5%
dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) group (group BD) and basic induction medium +0.5%
DMSO +500 μM GSH group (group BDG). Moreover, compared with group B and group
BD, the contents of COL2-A1 and GAG in group BDG relatively increased and the
mRNA expression level of COL2-A1 and GAG also comparatively increased (P <
0.05) and both had a significant statistical significance (P < 0.05). So GSH
might promote the induction of hUC-MSCs to differentiate into cartilage-like
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