2020 was a difficult year for many including scientists who were unable to work in the laboratory while under stay-at-home orders. However, as part of my research funded by the Morris Animal Foundation and NIH, I had obtained a large RNA-sequencing data set detailing the differentially expressed genes in equine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells treated with TGF-β2. My main reason for obtaining this data was to find differentially expressed genes associated with antigen processing and presentation, but we discovered there were almost 2,500 differentially expressed genes with implications far beyond our original goals.
Since I had limited access to the laboratory for much of 2020, I decided to explore this data set more in depth and focus on the changes in expression of secreted factors particularly those associated with tendon healing. With the help of members of the Schnabel Lab, we found that treating equine MSCs with TGF-β2 increased gene expression of collagens, growth factors, and extracellular matrix molecules as well as protein expression of type I collagen and tenascin-C. Treating MSCs with TGF-β2 may therefore enhance the secretome of MSCs to improve tendon healing in addition to reducing the immunogenicity of allogeneic MSCs as we have previously published. These results were published in September 2022 in Stem Cell Research and Therapy and can be found here.
Koch, Schnabel, Ellis, Bates, & Berglund. 2022. Stem Cell Res Ther.