Int J Med Sci 2017; 14(4):382-389. doi:10.7150/ijms.17364

Research Paper

TGF-β Stimulates Endochondral Differentiation after Denervation

Ye Li1#, Austin Y Tian2#, Jennifer Ophene2, Mason Y Tian4, Zhenjiang Yao3, Sidong Chen3, Hongwei Li1✉, Xiaoyan Sun2,3✉, Hongyan Du1✉

1. School of Laboratory Medicine and Biotechnology, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China;
2. Department of Neurology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA;
3. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics & Guangdong Key Lab of Molecular Epidemiology, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangdong, China;
4. Department of Biology, University of Pacifica, Stockton, CA, USA.
# First two authors have equal contribution in this work.


Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is a multifunctional protein that induces gene expression of cartilage-specific molecules, but its exact role in the process of chondrogenesis is unclear. Because recent studies suggest that TGF-β can facilitate chondrogenic precursor cells differentiating into chondrocytes, we sought to determine whether TGF-β prevents denervation-induced reduction of endochondral bone formation in an experimental model. Mice were treated daily with recombinant human TGF-β1 (rhTGF-β1) for 3 weeks. We found that rhTGF-β1 not only prevented denervation-induced reduction of gene expression of type II collagen, type X collagen, aggrecan, Indian hedgehog, and parathyroid hormone-related peptide, but also synergized endochondral differentiation. These results demonstrate that short-term systemic administration of TGF-β substantially prevents denervation-induced reduction of endochondral bone formation via stimulating endochondral differentiation. Potential therapeutic applications will be pursued in further studies that address the molecular biological mechanism of TGF-β on endochodral bone formation after denervation in animal models.

Keywords: TGF-β1, denervation, endochondral differentiation, ColII, ColX, aggrecan.

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How to cite this article:
Li Y, Tian AY, Ophene J, Tian MY, Yao Z, Chen S, Li H, Sun X, Du H. TGF-β Stimulates Endochondral Differentiation after Denervation. Int J Med Sci 2017; 14(4):382-389. doi:10.7150/ijms.17364. Available from