Stem Cells International
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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.