Although osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignant bone tumor in children and adolescents, its cell of origin and the genetic alterations are unclear. Previous studies have shown that serially introducing hTERT, SV40 large TAg, and H-Ras transforms human mesenchymal stem cells into two distinct sarcomas cell populations, but they do not form osteoid. In this study, β-catenin was introduced into mesenchymal stem cells already containing hTERT and SV40 large TAg to analyze if this resulted in a model which more closely recapitulated osteosarcoma. Results. Regardless of the level of induced β-catenin expression in the stable transfectants, there were no marked differences induced in their phenotype or invasion and migration capacity. Perhaps more importantly, none of them formed tumors when injected into immunocompromised mice. Moreover, the resulting transformed cells could be induced to osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation but not to adipogenic differentiation. Conclusions. β-catenin, although fostering osteogenic differentiation, does not induce the malignant features and tumorigenicity conveyed by oncogenic H-RAS when introduced into partly transformed mesenchymal stem cells. This may have implications for the role of β-catenin in osteosarcoma pathogenesis. It also may suggest that adipogenesis is an earlier branch point than osteogenesis and chondrogenesis in normal mesenchymal differentiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging