Self-assembled cellular patterns predict cartilage formation from mesenchymal stromal cells

The seminar will be conducted at Room 301, Samgatha building, Nila campus


The growing promise of cell therapy has called forth a need for assays that predict efficacy of a batch of cells for a specific clinical indication. One such case is the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy for cartilage repair. In this case, the commonly used in-vitro assay for predicting the efficacy of cells for cartilage regeneration is the chondrogenic differentiation assay, a relatively slow process of 21 days followed by protein quantification assays. We propose an alternate efficacy-prediction assay, which is based on self-assembly of these cells. We observed that the self-assembly patterns that emerge in confluent cultures of MSCs were cell batch-specific and reproducible across technical replicates. Further, the topological defect sites within the self-assembly pattern corresponded to mesenchymal condensations – the dense cellular aggregates that appear during the physiological process of skeletal morphogenesis. Hence, we hypothesized that the self-assembly pattern might correlate with the chondrogenic differentiation outcome. To test this, we quantified the degree-of-order of the self-assembled pattern. We observed a strong predictive correlation between the degree-of-order of the pattern at day 9 and the chondrogenic potential later estimated from in vitro chondrogenic differentiation assay at day 21. Our findings provide the rationale and proof-of-concept for using self-assembly patterns to monitor chondrogenic commitment efficacy of cell populations, with implications for cell therapy production.