Protective effects of a hyaluronan-binding peptide (P15-1) on mesenchymal stem cells in an inflammatory environment

Thorsten Kirsch, Fenglin Zhang, Olivia Braender-Carr, Mary K. Cowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) obtained from various sources, including bone marrow, have been proposed as a therapeutic strategy for the improvement of tissue repair/regeneration, including the repair of cartilage defects or lesions. Often the highly inflammatory environment after injury or during diseases, however, greatly diminishes the therapeutic and reparative effectiveness of MSCs. Therefore, the identification of novel factors that can protect MSCs against an inflammatory environment may enhance the effectiveness of these cells in repairing tissues, such as articular cartilage. In this study, we investigated whether a peptide (P15-1) that binds to hyaluronan (HA), a major component of the extracellular matrix of cartilage, protects bone-marrow-derived MSCs (BMSCs) in an inflammatory environment. The results showed that P15-1 reduced the mRNA levels of catabolic and inflammatory markers in interleukin-1beta (IL-1β)-treated human BMSCs. In addition, P15-1 enhanced the attachment of BMSCs to HA-coated tissue culture dishes and stimulated the chondrogenic differentiation of the multipotential murine C3H/10T1/2 MSC line in a micromass culture. In conclusion, our findings suggest that P15-1 may increase the capacity of BMSCs to repair cartilage via the protection of these cells in an inflammatory environment and the stimulation of their attachment to an HA-containing matrix and chondrogenic differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7058
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Articular cartilage
  • Hyaluronan
  • Inflammation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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