: Perivascular stem cells (PSCs) are the natural ancestors of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and are the stem cells responsible for homeostasis and repair in vivo. Prospectively identified and isolated PSCs have demonstrated increased plasticity and osteogenic potential. Cells from the infrapatellar fat pad (IFP) have demonstrated increased chondrogenic potential compared with those from subcutaneous fat. This research assessed the chondrogenic potential of IFP PSCs compared with MSCs from the IFP and bone marrow. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated the location of perivascular markers (CD146, CD34, neural/glial antigen 2 [NG2], platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β [PDGFRβ], and α-smooth muscle actin [α-SMA]) in relation to endothelial markers (CD31, CD144, von Willebrand factor [vWF]). Pericytes and adventitial cells were isolated from the stromal vascular fraction (3.8% and 21.2%, respectively) using flow cytometry with a viability of 88%. The mean numbers of pericytes and adventitial cells isolated were 4.6 ± 2.2 × 10(4) and 16.2 ± 3.2 × 10(4), respectively, equating to 7.9 ± 4.4 × 10(3) and 20.8 ± 4.3 × 10(3) cells per gram of harvested tissue. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting demonstrated that cultured PSCs were CD44+CD90+CD105+; polymerase chain reaction and immunocytochemistry demonstrated that pericytes retained their CD146+ phenotype and expressed the pericyte markers PDGFRβ and NG2. Differentiation was confirmed using histochemical stains and genetic expression. Using a pellet model, the IFP PSCs and the MSCs generated significantly more extracellular matrix than bone marrow MSCs (p < .001 and p = .011, respectively). The IFP PSCs generated significantly more extracellular matrix than IFP MSCs (p = .002). Micromass culture demonstrated that differentiated PSCs were upregulated compared with MSCs for COL2A1, ACAN, and SOX9 expression by factors of 4.8 ± 1.3, 4.3 ± 0.9, and 7.0 ± 1.7, respectively. The IFP was a significantly better source of chondrogenic stem cells compared with bone marrow. PSCs generated significantly more extracellular matrix than culture-derived MSCs.
SIGNIFICANCE: This paper presents data on the use of the infrapatellar fat pad as a source of perivascular stem cells for tissue engineering. It also presents quantitative data on the chondrogenic potential of perivascular stem cells and their superiority over culture-derived MSCs.