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In order to study the potential plasticity of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) precursor cells (aSPCs) from the adipogenic mesenchyme cell lineage to differentiate to the osteogenic lineage, aSPCs were isolated and cultivated under either osteogenic or adipogenic promoting conditions. The results strengthen the hypothesis that aSPCs most likely are predestined to the adipogenic lineage, but they also hold the flexibility to turn into other lineages given the right stimuli. This assumption is supported by the fact that the transcription factor pparγ , important for regulation of adiopogenesis, was silent in aSPCs grown in osteogenic media, while runx2, important for osteogenic differentiation, was not expressed in aSPCs cultivated in adipogenic media. After 2 weeks in osteogenic promoting conditions the cells started to deposit extracellular matrix and after 4 weeks, the cells started mineralizing secreted matrix. Microarray analyses revealed large-scale transcriptome responses to osteogenic medium after 2 days, changes remained stable at day 15 and decreased by magnitude at day 30. Induction was observed in many genes involved in osteogenic differentiation, growth factors, regulators of development, transporters and production of extracellular matrix. Transcriptome profile in differentiating adipocytes was markedly different from differentiating osteoblasts with far fewer genes changing activity. The number of regulated genes slowly increased at the mature stage, when adipocytes increased in size and accumulated lipids. This is the first report on in vitro differentiation of aSPCs from Atlantic salmon to mineralizing osteogenic cells. This cell model system provides a new valuable tool for studying osteoblastogenesis in fish.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Open

Publication Date





783 - 791


Adipocytes, In vitro, Osteoblast