Derivation of Tendon and Fibrocartilage Cells from Pluripotent Stem Cells

Although derivation of tendon cells from adult mesenchymal stem cells, embryonic stem cells (ESCs), and induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) have been reported, these studies were limited by the use of serum and the absence of a tenocyte reporter to determine induction efficiency, heterogeneity, and enable cell sorting. To address this, we are establishing protocols for deriving tenocytes and fibrocartilage cells from mouse ESCs and human iPSCs at high efficiency, using the ScxGFP reporter as a readout of differentiation. We use RNA-sequencing and single cell RNA-sequencing to benchmark our in vitro differentiated cells with their in vivo embryonic counterparts. Using these systems, we have identified novel transcription factors that may regulate tendon and fibrocartilage induction and differentiation.