Osteoblast differentiation of equine induced pluripotent stem cells.
Bone fractures occur in horses following traumatic and non-traumatic (bone overloading) events. They can be difficult to treat due to the need for the horse to bear weight on all legs during the healing period. Regenerative medicine to improve fracture union and recovery could significantly improve horse welfare. Equine induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have previously been derived. Here we show that equine iPSCs cultured for 21 days in osteogenic induction media on an OsteoAssay surface upregulate the expression of osteoblast associated genes and proteins, including COL1A1, SPARC, SPP1, IBSP, RUNX2 and BGALP We also demonstrate that iPSC-osteoblasts are able to produce a mineralised matrix with both calcium and hydroxyapatite deposition. Alkaline phosphatase activity is also significantly increased during osteoblast differentiation. Although the genetic background of the iPSC donor animal affects the level of differentiation observed after 21 days of differentiation, less variation between lines of iPSCs derived from the same horse was observed. The successful, direct, differentiation of equine iPSCs into osteoblasts may provide a source of cells for future regenerative medicine strategies to improve fracture repair in horses undergoing surgery. iPSC-derived osteoblasts will also provide a potential tool to study equine bone development and disease.