Sodium Tungstate for Promoting Mesenchymal Stem Cell Chondrogenesis

Ateka Khader, Lauren S. Sherman, Pranela Rameshwar, Treena L. Arinzeh

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5 Scopus citations


Articular cartilage has a limited ability to heal. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from the bone marrow have shown promise as a cell type for cartilage regeneration strategies. In this study, sodium tungstate (Na2WO4), which is an insulin mimetic, was evaluated for the first time as an inductive factor to enhance human MSC chondrogenesis. MSCs were seeded onto three-dimensional electrospun scaffolds in growth medium (GM), complete chondrogenic induction medium (CCM) containing insulin, and CCM without insulin. Na2WO4 was added to the media leading to final concentrations of 0, 0.01, 0.1, and 1 mM. Chondrogenic differentiation was assessed by biochemical analyses, immunostaining, and gene expression. Cytotoxicity using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCS) was also investigated. The chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs was enhanced in the presence of low concentrations of Na2WO4 compared to control, without Na2WO4. In the induction medium containing insulin, cells in 0.01 mM Na2WO4 produced significantly higher sulfated glycosaminoglycans, collagen type II, and chondrogenic gene expression than all other groups at day 28. Cells in 0.1 mM Na2WO4 had significantly higher collagen II production and significantly higher sox-9 and aggrecan gene expression compared to control at day 28. Cells in GM and induction medium without insulin containing low concentrations of Na2WO4 also expressed chondrogenic markers. Na2WO4 did not stimulate PBMC proliferation or apoptosis. The results demonstrate that Na2WO4 enhances chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs, does not have a toxic effect, and may be useful for MSC-based approaches for cartilage repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1909-1918
Number of pages10
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Chondrogenesis
  • human mesenchymal stem cells
  • insulin mimetic
  • sodium tungstate


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