Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Creating Cartilage
12 May 2014

Creating Cartilage

Human fat is one of the most practical sources of stem cells. But coaxing these precursors to become cartilage – the flexible connective tissue between our joints and elsewhere – has so far proven difficult. Now researchers have managed to do it by mimicking a process that occurs naturally in the body. By exposing stem cells in a dish to a protein called factor-β, the scientists induced them to undergo condensation, a DNA-compacting process that defines growth and differentiation of cells, as they do in the body before starting to make cartilage. Pictured is a section of the lab-grown tissue with its swirling blue-stained proteoglycan – a key component of cartilage – and bone substrate (the long pale pink projections). The ability to create functioning cartilage could have tremendous clinical advantages, accelerating the development of new treatments for cartilage repair.

Written by Matthew Morgan

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.