Stem Cell Research

Glycosaminoglycans mimetics potentiate the clonogenicity, proliferation, migration and differentiation properties of rat mesenchymal stem cells

Guilhem Frescaline, Thibault Bouderlique, Minh Bao Huynh, Dulce Papy-Garcia, José Courty, Patricia Albanese



Successful use of stem cell-based therapeutic products is conditioned by transplantation of optimized cells in permissive microenvironment. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) fates are tightly regulated by humoral factors, cellular interactions and extracellular matrix (ECM) components, such as glycosaminoglycans (GAG), which are complex polysaccharides with structural heterogeneity. During osteogenesis, a temporally controlled expression of particular GAG species is required to interact with specific growth promoting and  differentiating factors to regulate their biological activities. As a comparative tool to study natural GAG, we used structurally and functionally related synthetic GAG mimetics. One of these compounds [OTR4120] was previously shown to stimulate bone repair in rat models.

Here, we demonstrate that structurally distinct GAG mimetics stimulate differentially clonogenicity, proliferation, migration and osteogenic phenotype of MSC in  vitro, according to their specific chemical signature, underlying the role of sulfate and acetyl groups in specific interactions with heparin binding factors (HBF). These effects are dependent on FGF-2 interactions since they are inhibited by a FGF receptor 1 signaling pathway blocker. These data suggest that the in vivo  [OTR4120] bone regenerative effect could be due to its ability to induce MSC migration and osteogenic differentiation. To conclude, we provide evidences showing that GAG mimetics may have great interest for bone regeneration therapy and represent an alternative to exogenous growth factor treatments to optimize potential therapeutic properties of MSC.