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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017, Article ID 2348485, 17 pages
Research Article

Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein-6 Alters Skeletal Muscle Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Doaa Aboalola1,2,3,4 and Victor K. M. Han1,2,3,5

1Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Western Ontario University, London, ON, Canada
2Children’s Health Research Institute, Western Ontario University, London, ON, Canada
3Lawson Health Research Institute, Western Ontario University, London, ON, Canada
4King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, National Guard Health Affairs, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
5Departments of Paediatrics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western Ontario University, London, ON, Canada

Correspondence should be addressed to Victor K. M. Han;

Received 27 February 2017; Revised 7 July 2017; Accepted 19 July 2017; Published 14 September 2017

Academic Editor: Sari Pennings

Copyright © 2017 Doaa Aboalola and Victor K. M. Han. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-6 (IGFBP-6), the main regulator of insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-2), is a component of the stem cell niche in developing muscle cells. However, its role in muscle development has not been clearly defined. In this study, we investigated the role of IGFBP-6 in muscle commitment and differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells derived from the placenta. We showed that placental mesenchymal stem cells (PMSCs) have the ability to differentiate into muscle cells when exposed to a specific culture medium by expressing muscle markers Pax3/7, MyoD, myogenin, and myosin heavy chain in a stage-dependent manner with the ultimate formation of multinucleated fibers and losing pluripotency-associated markers, OCT4 and SOX2. The addition of IGFBP-6 significantly increased pluripotency-associated markers as well as muscle differentiation markers at earlier time points, but the latter decreased with time. On the other hand, silencing IGFBP-6 decreased both pluripotent and differentiation markers at early time points. The levels of these markers increased as IGFBP-6 levels were restored. These findings indicate that IGFBP-6 influences MSC pluripotency and myogenic differentiation, with more prominent effects observed at the beginning of the differentiation process before muscle commitment.