Identification of reference genes for quantitative PCR during C3H10T1/2 chondrogenic differentiation

Serena Cappato, Francesca Giacopelli, Laura Tonachini, Roberto Ravazzolo, Renata Bocciardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


C3H10T1/2, a mouse mesenchymal stem cell line, is a well-known in vitro model of chondrogenesis that can be easily employed to recapitulate some of the mechanisms intervening in this process. Moreover, these cells can be used to validate the effect of candidate molecules identified by high throughput screening approaches applied to the development of targeted therapy for human disorders in which chondrogenic differentiation may be involved, as in conditions characterized by heterotopic endochondral bone formation. Chondrogenic differentiation of C3H10T1/2 cells can be monitored by applying quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), one of the most sensitive methods that allows detection of small dynamic changes in gene expression between samples obtained under different experimental conditions. In this work, we have used qPCR to monitor the expression of specific markers during chondrogenic differentiation of C3H10T1/2 cells in micromass cultures. Then we have applied the geNorm approach to identify the most stable reference genes suitable to get a robust normalization of the obtained expression data. Among 12 candidate reference genes (Ap3d1, Csnk2a2, Cdc40, Fbxw2, Fbxo38, Htatsf1, Mon2, Pak1ip1, Zfp91, 18S, ActB, GAPDH) we identified Mon2 and Ap3d1 as the most stable ones during chondrogenesis. ActB, GAPDH and 18S, the most commonly used in the literature, resulted to have an expression level too high compared to the differentiation markers (Sox9, Collagen type 2a1, Collagen type 10a1 and Collagen type 1a1), therefore are actually less recommended for these experimental conditions. In conclusion, we identified nine reference genes that can be equally used to obtain a robust normalization of the gene expression variation during the C3H10T1/2 chondrogenic differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3477-3485
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Biology Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Actins/genetics
  • Adaptor Protein Complex 3/genetics
  • Adaptor Protein Complex beta Subunits/genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation/genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrogenesis/genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling/methods
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (Phosphorylating)/genetics
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells/cytology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases/genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods
  • Reference Standards
  • Transcriptome


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