CCN2 plays a central role in the development and growth of mesenchymal tissue and promotes the regeneration of bone and cartilage in vivo. Of note, abundant CCN2 is contained in platelets, which is thought to play an important role in the tissue regeneration process. In this study, we initially pursued the possible origin of the CCN2 in platelets. First, we examined if the CCN2 in platelets was produced by megakaryocyte progenitors during differentiation. Unexpectedly, neither megakaryocytic CMK cells nor megakaryocytes that had differentiated from human haemopoietic stem cells in culture showed any detectable CCN2 gene expression or protein production. Together with the fact that no appreciable CCN2 was detected in megakaryocytes in vivo, these results suggest that megakaryocytes themselves do not produce CCN2. Next, we suspected that mesenchymal cells situated around megakaryocytes in the bone marrow were stimulated by the latter to produce CCN2, which was then taken up by platelets. To evaluate this hypothesis, we cultured human chondrocytic HCS-2/8 cells with medium conditioned by differentiating megakaryocyte cultures, and then monitored the production of CCN2 by the cells. As suspected, CCN2 production by HCS-2/8 was significantly enhanced by the conditioned medium. We further confirmed that human platelets were able to absorb/uptake exogenous CCN2 in vitro. These findings indicate that megakaryocytes secrete some unknown soluble factor(s) during differentiation, which factor stimulates the mesenchymal cells to produce CCN2 for uptake by the platelets. We also consider that, during bone growth, such thrombopoietic-mesenchymal interaction may contribute to the hypertrophic chondrocyte-specific accumulation of CCN2 that conducts endochondral ossification.
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