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1.  Characteristics and osteogenic effect of zirconia porous scaffold coated with β-TCP/HA 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the properties of a porous zirconia scaffold coated with bioactive materials and compare the in vitro cellular behavior of MC3T3-E1 preosteoblastic cells to titanium and zirconia disks and porous zirconia scaffolds.
Titanium and zirconia disks were prepared. A porous zirconia scaffold was fabricated with an open cell polyurethane disk foam template. The porous zirconia scaffolds were coated with β-TCP, HA and a compound of β-TCP and HA (BCP). The characteristics of the specimens were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer (EDX), and x-ray diffractometry (XRD). The dissolution tests were analyzed by an inductively coupled plasma spectrometer (ICP). The osteogenic effect of MC3T3-E1 cells was assessed via cell counting and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
The EDX profiles showed the substrate of zirconia, which was surrounded by the Ca-P layer. In the dissolution test, dissolved Ca2+ ions were observed in the following decreasing order; β-TCP > BCP > HA (P<.05). In the cellular experiments, the cell proliferation on titanium disks appeared significantly lower in comparison to the other groups after 5 days (P<.05). The zirconia scaffolds had greater values than the zirconia disks (P<.05). The mRNA level of osteocalcin was highest on the non-coated zirconia scaffolds after 7 days.
Zirconia had greater osteoblast cell activity than titanium. The interconnecting pores of the zirconia scaffolds showed enhanced proliferation and cell differentiation. The activity of osteoblast was more affected by microstructure than by coating materials.
PMCID: PMC4146729  PMID: 25177472
Zirconia porous scaffold; Osteogenic effect; Cellular response; β-TCP; HA
2.  Gene expression of MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells on titanium and zirconia surface 
This study was performed to define attachment and growth behavior of osteoblast-like cells and evaluate the gene expression on zirconia compared to titanium.
MC3T3-E1 cells were cultured on (1) titanium and (2) zirconia discs. The tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay (MTT test) was used for examining the attachment of cells. Cellular morphology was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was measured to evaluate the cell differentiation rate. Mann-Whitney test was used to assess the significance level of the differences between the experimental groups. cDNA microarray was used for comparing the 20215 gene expressions on titanium and zirconia.
From the MTT assay, there was no significant difference between titanium and zirconia (P>.05). From the SEM image, after 4 hours of culture, cells on both discs were triangular or elongated in shape with formation of filopodia. After 24 hours of culture, cells on both discs were more flattened and well spread compared to 4 hours of culture. From the ALP activity assay, the optical density of E1 cells on titanium was slightly higher than that of E1 cells on zirconia but there was no significant difference (P>.05). Most of the genes related to cell adhesion showed similar expression level between titanium and zirconia.
Zirconia showed comparable biological responses of osteoblast-like cells to titanium for a short time during cell culture period. Most of the genes related to cell adhesion and signal showed similar expression level between titanium and zirconia.
PMCID: PMC3865196  PMID: 24353879
Dental implants; Zirconia; Titanium; Osteoblast-like cells; cDNA microarray
3.  Cell attachment and proliferation of bone marrow-derived osteoblast on zirconia of various surface treatment 
This study was performed to characterize the effects of zirconia coated with calcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite compared to smooth zirconia after bone marrow-derived osteoblast culture.
Bone marrow-derived osteoblasts were cultured on (1) smooth zirconia, (2) zirconia coated with calcium phosphate (CaP), and (3) zirconia coated with hydroxyapatite (HA). The tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay (MTT test) was used for cell proliferation evaluation. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was measured to evaluate the cellular morphology and differentiation rate. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was employed for the analysis of surface chemistry. The genetic expression of the osteoblasts and dissolution behavior of the coatings were observed. Assessment of the significance level of the differences between the groups was done with analysis of variance (ANOVA).
From the MTT assay, no significant difference between smooth and surface coated zirconia was found (P>.05). From the SEM image, cells on all three groups of discs were sporadically triangular or spread out in shape with formation of filopodia. From the ALP activity assay, the optical density of osteoblasts on smooth zirconia discs was higher than that on surface treated zirconia discs (P>.05). Most of the genes related to cell adhesion showed similar expression level between smooth and surface treated zirconia. The dissolution rate was higher with CaP than HA coating.
The attachment and growth behavior of bone-marrow-derived osteoblasts cultured on smooth surface coated zirconia showed comparable results. However, the HA coating showed more time-dependent stability compared to the CaP coating.
PMCID: PMC4024565  PMID: 24843393
Zirconia; Calcium phosphate; Bone marrow-derived osteoblasts; Ion beam assisted deposition; Aerosol deposition
4.  Osteoblasts exhibit a more differentiated phenotype and increased bone morphogenetic protein production on titanium alloy substrates than on poly-ether-ether-ketone 
Background Context
Multiple biomaterials are clinically available to spine surgeons for performing interbody fusion. Poly-ether-ether-ketone (PEEK) is used frequently for lumbar spine interbody fusion, but alternative materials are also used, including titanium (Ti) alloys. Previously, we showed that osteoblasts exhibit a more differentiated phenotype when grown on machined or grit-blasted titanium aluminum vanadium (Ti6Al4V) alloys with micron-scale roughened surfaces than when grown on smoother Ti6Al4V surfaces or on tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS). We hypothesized that osteoblasts cultured on rough Ti alloy substrates would present a more mature osteoblast phenotype than cells cultured on PEEK, suggesting that textured Ti6Al4V implants may provide a more osteogenic surface for interbody fusion devices.
The aim of the present study was to compare osteoblast response to smooth Ti6Al4V (sTiAlV) and roughened Ti6Al4V (rTiAlV) with their response to PEEK with respect to differentiation and production of factors associated with osteogenesis.
Study Design
This in vitro study compared the phenotype of human MG63 osteoblast-like cells cultured on PEEK, sTiAlV, or rTiAlV surfaces and their production of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs).
Surface properties of PEEK, sTiAlV, and rTiAlV discs were determined. Human MG63 cells were grown on TCPS and the discs. Confluent cultures were harvested, and cell number, alkaline phosphatase–specific activity, and osteocalcin were measured as indicators of osteoblast maturation. Expression of messenger RNA (mRNA) for BMP2 and BMP4 was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Levels of BMP2, BMP4, and BMP7 proteins were also measured in the conditioned media of the cell cultures.
Although roughness measurements for sTiAlV (Sa=0.09±0.01), PEEK (Sa=0.43±0.07), and rTiAlV (Sa= 1.81±0.51) varied, substrates had similar contact angles, indicating comparable wettability. Cell morphology differed depending on the surface. Cells cultured on Ti6Al4V had lower cell number and increased alkaline phosphatase specific activity, osteocalcin, BMP2, BMP4, and BMP7 levels in comparison to PEEK. In particular, roughness significantly increased the mRNA levels of BMP2 and BMP4 and secreted levels of BMP4.
These data demonstrate that rTiAlV substrates increase osteoblast maturation and produce an osteogenic environment that contains BMP2, BMP4, and BMP7. The results show that modifying surface structure is sufficient to create an osteogenic environment without addition of exogenous factors, which may induce better and faster bone during interbody fusion.
PMCID: PMC3618467  PMID: 22424980
Ti6Al4V; PEEK; Osteoblast; BMP; Roughness
5.  Annulus Fibrosus Cell Characteristics Are a Potential Source of Intervertebral Disc Pathogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96519.
In the end stage of intervertebral disc degeneration, cartilage, bone, endothelial cells, and neurons appear in association with the worsening condition. The origin of the abnormal cells is not clear. This study investigated the properties of progenitor cells in the annulus fibrosus (AF) using one in vitro and two in vivo models. Cultivation of rabbit AF cells with chondrogenic media significantly increased expressions of collagen and aggrecan. Upon exposure to osteogenic conditions, the cultures showed increased mineralization and expression of osteopontin, runx2, and bmp2 genes. Two models were used in the in vivo subcutaneous implantation experiments: 1) rabbit AF tissue in a demineralized bone matrix (DBM) cylinder (DBM/AF), and, 2) rat intact and needle punctured lumbar discs. Bone formation in the AF tissue was detected and hypertrophic chondrocytes and osteoblasts were present 1 month after implantation of the DBM/AF to nude mice. In addition to collagen I and II, immunostaining shows collagen X and osteocalcin expression in DBM/AF specimens 4 months after implantation. Similar changes were detected in the injured discs. Almost the entire needle punctured disc had ossified at 6 months. The results suggest that AF cells have characteristics of progenitor cells and, under appropriate stimuli, are capable of differentiating into chondrocytes and osteoblasts in vitro as well as in vivo. Importantly, these cells may be a target for biological treatment of disc degeneration.
PMCID: PMC4010482  PMID: 24796761
6.  Behavior of osteoblastic cells cultured on titanium and structured zirconia surfaces 
Head & Face Medicine  2008;4:29.
Osseointegration is crucial for the long-term success of dental implants and depends on the tissue reaction at the tissue-implant interface. Mechanical properties and biocompatibility make zirconia a suitable material for dental implants, although surface processings are still problematic. The aim of the present study was to compare osteoblast behavior on structured zirconia and titanium surfaces under standardized conditions.
The surface characteristics were determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In primary bovine osteoblasts attachment kinetics, proliferation rate and synthesis of bone-associated proteins were tested on different surfaces.
The results demonstrated that the proliferation rate of cells was significantly higher on zirconia surfaces than on titanium surfaces (p < 0.05; Student's t-test). In contrast, attachment and adhesion strength of the primary cells was significant higher on titanium surfaces (p < 0.05; U test). No significant differences were found in the synthesis of bone-specific proteins. Ultrastructural analysis revealed phenotypic features of osteoblast-like cells on both zirconia and titanium surfaces.
The study demonstrates distinct effects of the surface composition on osteoblasts in culture. Zirconia improves cell proliferation significantly during the first days of culture, but it does not improve attachment and adhesion strength. Both materials do not differ with respect to protein synthesis or ultrastructural appearance of osteoblasts. Zirconium oxide may therefore be a suitable material for dental implants.
PMCID: PMC2614982  PMID: 19063728
7.  Demineralized Bone Matrix Combined Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 and Transforming Growth Factor-β3 Gene Promoted Pig Cartilage Defect Repair 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116061.
To investigate whether a combination of demineralized bone matrix (DBM) and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) infected with adenovirus-mediated- bone morphogenetic protein (Ad-BMP-2) and transforming growth factor-β3 (Ad-TGF-β3) promotes the repair of the full-thickness cartilage lesions in pig model.
BMSCs isolated from pig were cultured and infected with Ad-BMP-2(B group), Ad-TGF-β3 (T group), Ad-BMP-2 + Ad-TGF-β3(BT group), cells infected with empty Ad served as a negative group(N group), the expression of the BMP-2 and TGF-β3 were confirmed by immunofluorescence, PCR, and ELISA, the expression of SOX-9, type II collagen(COL-2A), aggrecan (ACAN) in each group were evaluated by real-time PCR at 1w, 2w, 3w, respectively. The chondrogenic differentiation of BMSCs was evaluated by type II collagen at 21d with immunohistochemical staining. The third-passage BMSCs infected with Ad-BMP-2 and Ad-TGF-β3 were suspended and cultured with DBM for 6 days to construct a new type of tissue engineering scaffold to repair full-thickness cartilage lesions in the femur condyles of pig knee, the regenerated tissue was evaluated at 1,2 and 3 months after surgery by gross appearance, H&E, safranin O staining and O'driscoll score.
Ad-BMP-2 and Ad-TGF-β3 (BT group) infected cells acquired strong type II collagen staining compared with Ad-BMP-2 (B group) and Ad-TGF-β3 (T group) along. The Ad-BMP-2 and Ad-TGF-β3 infected BMSCs adhered and propagated well in DBM and the new type of tissue engineering scaffold produced hyaline cartilage morphology containing a stronger type II collagen and safranin O staining, the O'driscoll score was higher than other groups.
The DBM compound with Ad-BMP-2 and Ad-TGF-β3 infected BMSCs scaffold has a good biocompatibility and could well induce cartilage regeneration to repair the defects of joint cartilage. This technology may be efficiently employed for cartilage lesions repair in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4278773  PMID: 25545777
8.  Wnt/β-catenin pathway regulates Bmp2-mediated differentiation of dental follicle cells 
Journal of periodontal research  2011;47(3):10.1111/j.1600-0765.2011.01433.x.
Background and Objectives
Bmp2-induced osteogenic differentiation has been shown to occur through the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway, whereas factors promoting canonical Wnt signaling in cementoblasts inhibited cell differentiation and promoted cell proliferation in vitro. The aim of this study was to investigate whether putative precursor cells of cementoblasts, dental follicle cells (murine SVF4 cells), when stimulated with Bmp2, would exhibit changes in genes/proteins associated with the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
Materials and Methods
SVF4 cells were stimulated with Bmp2, and the following assays were carried out: 1) Wnt/β-catenin pathway activation assessed by western blot, β-catenin/TCF reporter assay, and gene expression of lymphoid enhancer-binding factor-1 (Lef1), transcription factor 7 (Tcf7), Wnt inhibitor factor 1 (Wif1) and Axin2, and 2) cementoblast/osteoblast differentiation assessed by mineralization in vitro, and mRNA levels of runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), osterix (Osx), alkaline phosphatase (Alp), osteocalcin (Ocn) and bone sialoprotein (Bsp) by qPCR after Wnt3a treatment and knockdown of β-catenin.
Wnt3a induced β-catenin nuclear translocation and upregulated the transcriptional activity of a canonical Wnt-responsive reporter, suggesting the Wnt/β-catenin pathway functions in SVF4 cells. Activation of Wnt signaling with Wnt3a suppressed Bmp2-mediated induction of cementoblast/osteoblast maturation of SVF4 cells. However, β-catenin knockdown showed that Bmp2-induced expression of cementoblast/osteoblast differentiation markers requires endogenous β-catenin. Wnt3a down-regulated transcripts for Runx2, Alp and Ocn in SVF4 cells compared to untreated cells. In contrast, Bmp2 induction of Bsp transcripts occurred independent of Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
These data suggest that stabilization of β-catenin by Wnt-3a treatment inhibits Bmp2-mediated induction of cementoblast/osteoblast differentiation in SVF4 cells, although Bmp2 requires endogenous Wnt/β-catenin signaling to promote cell maturation.
PMCID: PMC3865600  PMID: 22150562
dental follicle cells; Wnt; cementoblast; maturation; BMP
9.  A New Method to Investigate How Mechanical Loading of Osteocytes Controls Osteoblasts 
Mechanical loading, a potent stimulator of bone formation, is governed by osteocyte regulation of osteoblasts. We developed a three-dimensional (3D) in vitro co-culture system to investigate the effect of loading on osteocyte–osteoblast interactions. MLO-Y4 cells were embedded in type I collagen gels and MC3T3-E1(14) or MG63 cells layered on top. Ethidium homodimer staining of 3D co-cultures showed 100% osteoblasts and 86% osteocytes were viable after 7 days. Microscopy revealed osteoblasts and osteocytes maintain their respective ovoid/pyriform and dendritic morphologies in 3D co-cultures. Reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) extracted separately from osteoblasts and osteocytes, showed that podoplanin (E11), osteocalcin, and runt-related transcription factor 2 mRNAs were expressed in both cell types. Type I collagen (Col1a1) mRNA expression was higher in osteoblasts (P < 0.001), whereas, alkaline phosphatase mRNA was higher in osteocytes (P = 0.001). Immunohistochemistry revealed osteoblasts and osteocytes express E11, type I pro-collagen, and connexin 43 proteins. In preliminary experiments to assess osteogenic responses, co-cultures were treated with human recombinant bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) or mechanical loading using a custom built loading device. BMP-2 treatment significantly increased osteoblast Col1a1 mRNA synthesis (P = 0.031) in MLO-Y4/MG63 co-cultures after 5 days treatment. A 16-well silicone plate, loaded (5 min, 10 Hz, 2.5 N) to induce 4000–4500 με cyclic compression within gels increased prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) release 0.5 h post-load in MLO-Y4 cells pre-cultured in 3D collagen gels for 48, 72 h, or 7 days. Mechanical loading of 3D co-cultures increased type I pro-collagen release 1 and 5 days later. These methods reveal a new osteocyte–osteoblast co-culture model that may be useful for investigating mechanically induced osteocyte control of osteoblast bone formation.
PMCID: PMC4260042  PMID: 25538684
osteocyte; osteoblast; 3 dimensional; co-culture; model; loading
10.  Titanium Particle-Challenged Osteoblasts Promote Osteoclastogenesis and Osteolysis in a Murine Model of Periprosthestic Osteolysis 
Acta biomaterialia  2013;9(7):7564-7572.
The current study investigates the interactive behavior of titanium alloy particle-challenged osteoblastic bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and macrophage lineage cells in a murine knee-prosthesis failure model. BMSCs were isolated from male BALB/c mice femurs and induced in osteogenic medium. At 24 hours after isolation, BMSCs in complete induction medium were challenged with 1, 3, or 5mg/ml titanium particles for 7 days. Culture media were collected at 2, 4 and 6 days and cells were harvested at 7 days for alkaline phosphatase (ALP) assay/stains. Cell proliferation in the presence of Ti particles was periodically evaluated by MTT assay. Mice implanted with titanium-pin tibial implants were given an intra-articular injection of 50μl medium containing 5×105 Ti particles-challenged bone marrow derived osteoblastic cells, followed by a repeat injection at 2 weeks post-op. Control mice with titanium-pin implants received a naïve osteoblastic cell transfusion. After sacrifice at 4 week, the implanted knee joint of each group was collected for biomechanical pin-pullout testing, histological evaluation and RT-PCR analysis of mRNA extracted from the joint tissues. Ti-particles significantly stimulated the proliferation of BMSC-derived osteoblastic cells at both high and low particle concentrations (p<0.05), with no marked differences between the particle doses. ALP expression was diminished following Ti-particle interactions, especially in the high dose particle group (p<0.05). In addition, the culture media collected from short-term challenged (48 hours) osteoblasts significantly increased the numbers of TRAP+ cells when added to mouse peripheral blood monocytes cultures, in comparison with the monocytes cells receiving naïve osteoblasts media (p<0.05). Intra-articular introduction of the osteoblastic cells to the mouse pin-implant failure model resulted in reduced implant interfacial shear strength and thicker peri-implant soft-tissue formation, suggesting that titanium particles-challenged osteoblasts contributed to periprosthetic osteolysis. Comparison of the gene expression profiles among the peri-implant tissue samples following osteoblast injection did not find significant difference in RunX2 or Osterix/Sp7 between the groups. However, MMP-2, IL-1, TNF-α, RANKL, and TRAP gene expressions were elevated in the challenged-osteoblast group (p<0.05). In conclusion, titanium alloy particles were shown to interfere with the growth, maturation, and functions of the bone marrow osteoblast progenitor cells. Particle-challenged osteoblasts appear to express mediators that regulate osteoclastogenesis and peri-prosthetic osteolysis.
PMCID: PMC3686639  PMID: 23518478
titanium debris particles; osteolysis; bone marrow; osteoblast; osteoclast
11.  Microstructured Titanium Regulates Interleukin Production by Osteoblasts, an Effect Modulated by Exogenous BMP-2 
Acta biomaterialia  2012;9(3):5821-5829.
Microtextured implant surfaces increase osteoblast differentiation in vitro and enhance bone-to-implant contact in vivo and clinically. These implants may be used in combination with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) to enhance peri-implant bone formation. However, the effect of surface modifications alone or in combination with rhBMP-2 on osteoblast-produced inflammatory microenvironment is unknown. MG63 cells were cultured on tissue culture polystyrene or titanium substrates: smooth pretreated (PT, Ra=0.2μm), sandblasted/acid-etched (SLA, Ra=3.2μm), or hydrophilic-SLA (modSLA). Expression and protein production of pro-inflammatory interleukins (IL1b, IL6, IL8, IL17) and anti-inflammatory interleukins (IL10) were measured in cells with or without rhBMP-2. To determine which BMP signaling pathways were involved, cultures were incubated with BMP pathway inhibitors to blocking Smad (dorsomorphin), TAB/TAK1 ((5Z)-7-oxozeaenol), or PKA (H-8) signaling. Culture on rough SLA and modSLA surfaces decreased pro-inflammatory interleukins and increased anti-inflammatory IL10. This effect was negated in cells treated with rhBMP-2, which caused an increase in pro-inflammatory interleukins and a decrease in anti-inflammatory interleukins through TAB/TAK signaling. The results suggest that surface microtexture modulates the inflammatory process during osseointegration, an effect that may enhance healing. However, rhBMP-2 in combination with microtextured titanium implants can influence the effect of cells on these surfaces, and may adversely affect cells involved in osseointegration.
PMCID: PMC3618455  PMID: 23123301
Microstructure; Inflammation; BMP (bone morphogenetic protein); Titanium
12.  BMP2 Is Essential for Post Natal Osteogenesis but Not for Recruitment of Osteogenic Stem Cells 
Bone  2009;45(2):254-266.
The effects of BMP2 on bone marrow stromal cell differentiation and bone formation after bone marrow ablation were determined using C57 BL/6J (B6) mice. Inhibition of BMP2 expression with lentiviral BMP2 shRNA prevented both mineralized nodule formation in vitro and bone formation in vivo, and blocked the expression of Runx2 and osterix, transcriptional determinants of terminal osteogenic differentiation. No effect was observed on the expression of Sox9, a transcription factor, which is the one of the first transcriptional determinant to be expressed in committed chondroprogenitor and osteoprogenitor cells. In vitro studies showed that exogenously added BMP7 rescued the expression of osterix and enhanced the expression of Sox9, but had no effect on the expression of Runx2, while it only partially recovered the development of mineral deposition in the cultures. On the other hand, the exogenous addition of BMP2 rescued both Runx2 and osterix expression, did not enhance the expression of Sox9, but fully recovered the inhibition of mineral deposition in the cultures. Using antibodies against CD146 and Sox9, immunohistological examination of the cell populations found in the medullary space three days after bone marrow ablation, showed qualitatively equal numbers of cells expressing these skeletal progenitor and stem cell markers in control and BMP2 shRNA-treated animals. Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) analysis of the cells found with the marrow cavities at three days after marrow ablation using CD146 antibody showed near equal numbers of immunopositive cells in both control and shRNA treated animals. In summary, the differences observed in vitro for BMP2 and BMP7 on osteogenic gene expression and mineralization suggest that they have differing effects on bone cell differentiation. These results further demonstrate that in vivo BMP2 is a central morphogenetic regulator of post natal osteoprogenitor differentiation, but does not affect recruitment of progenitors to the osteoblastic lineage.
PMCID: PMC2745982  PMID: 19398045
BMP; Stem Cells; Bone Repair; Transcription Factors; Osterix; Runx2
13.  Isolated osteoblasts from spinal cord-injured rats respond less to mechanical loading as compared with those from hindlimb-immobilized rats 
The pathogenesis of osteoporosis after spinal cord injury (SCI) may be different from disuse osteoporosis.
To investigate whether there is the differential anabolic response to mechanical loading between osteoblasts from SCI rats and those from hindlimb-immobilized rats.
Femoral bone-marrow was harvested for osteoblast culture from SCI rats, hindlimb-immobilized rats, and control rats 3 weeks after animal model creation. At the stage of differentiation, rat osteoblasts were plated in six-well plates for stretching. Cyclic strains were applied for 48 hours, and then alkaline phosphatase (ALPase) activity, procollagen, and osteocalcin production, and gene expression of osteocalcin, runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), and osterix were measured in osteoblasts from SCI rats, hindlimb-immobilized rats, and control rats.
ALPase activity, procollagen, and osteocalcin production, and gene expression of osteocalcin, Runx2, and osterix were significantly lower in osteoblasts after stretching from SCI rats compared with those from hindlimb-immobilized rats. However, there was no significant difference of these parameters between isolated osteoblasts from hindlimb-immobilized rats and those from control rats.
The activity of isolated osteoblasts from SCI rats was lower than control rats, and this suggested that osteoblasts from SCI rats responded less to mechanical loading as compared with those from control rats.
PMCID: PMC3654448  PMID: 23809592
Spinal cord injuries; Immobilization; Osteoblasts; Osteoporosis; Demineralization; Bone loss; Paraplegia
14.  Development and characterization of a mouse floxed Bmp2 osteoblast cell line that retains osteoblast genotype and phenotype 
Cell and tissue research  2011;343(3):545-558.
Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (Bmp2) is essential for osteoblast differentiation and osteogenesis. Generation of floxed Bmp2 osteoblast cell lines is a valuable tool for studying the effects of Bmp2 on osteoblast differentiation and its signaling pathways during skeletal metabolism. Due to relatively limited sources of primary osteoblasts, we have developed cell lines that serve as good surrogate models for the study of osteoblast cell differentiation and bone mineralization. In this study, we established and characterized immortalized mouse floxed Bmp2 osteoblast cell lines. Primary mouse floxed Bmp2 osteoblasts were transfected with pSV3-neo and clonally selected. These transfected cells were verified by PCR and immunohistochemistry. To determine the genotype and phenotype of the immortalized cells, cell morphology, proliferation, differentiation and mineralization were analyzed. Also, expression of osteoblast-related gene markers including Runx2, Osx, ATF4, Dlx3, bone sialoprotein, dentin matrix protein 1, osteonectin, osteocalcin and osteopontin were examined by quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. These results showed that immortalized floxed Bmp2 osteoblasts had a higher proliferation rate but preserved their genotypic and phenotypic characteristics similar to the primary cells. Thus, we, for the first time, describe the development of immortalized mouse floxed Bmp2 osteoblast cell lines and present a useful model to study osteoblast biology mediated by BMP2 and its downstream signaling transduction pathways.
PMCID: PMC3050048  PMID: 21271257
Floxed Bmp2; Immortalization; Osteoblast; Gene expression; SV40-T-Ag
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2012;227(6):2677-2685.
The transcription factor Osterix (Sp7) is essential for osteoblastogenesis and bone formation in mice. Genome wide association studies have demonstrated that Osterix is associated with bone mineral density in humans; however, the molecular significance of Osterix in human osteoblast differentiation is poorly described. In this study we have characterized the role of Osterix in human mesenchymal progenitor cell (hMSC) differentiation. We first analyzed temporal microarray data of primary hMSC treated with bone morphogenetic protein-6 (BMP6) using clustering to identify genes that are associated with Osterix expression. Osterix clusters with a set of osteoblast-associated extracellular matrix (ECM) genes, including bone sialoprotein (BSP) and a novel set of proteoglycans, osteomodulin (OMD), osteoglycin, and asporin. Maximum expression of these genes is dependent upon both the concentration and duration of BMP6 exposure. Next we overexpressed and repressed Osterix in primary hMSC using retrovirus. The enforced expression of Osterix had relatively minor effects on osteoblastic gene expression independent of exogenous BMP6. However, in the presence of BMP6, Osterix overexpression enhanced expression of the aforementioned ECM genes. Additionally, Osterix overexpression enhanced BMP6 induced osteoblast mineralization, while inhibiting hMSC proliferation. Conversely, Osterix knockdown maintained hMSC in an immature state by decreasing expression of these ECM genes and decreasing mineralization and hMSC proliferation. Overexpression of the Osterix regulated gene OMD with retrovirus promoted mineralization of hMSC. These results suggest that Osterix is necessary, but not sufficient for hMSC osteoblast differentiation. Osterix regulates the expression of a set of ECM proteins which are involved in terminal osteoblast differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3241898  PMID: 21898406
bone morphogenetic protein-6; osteoblast; human; Osterix; osteomodulin
16.  Culture conditions for equine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and expression of key transcription factors during their differentiation into osteoblasts 
The use of equine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC) is a novel method to improve fracture healing in horses. However, additional research is needed to identify optimal culture conditions and to determine the mechanisms involved in regulating BMSC differentiation into osteoblasts. The objectives of the experiments were to determine: 1) if autologous or commercial serum is better for proliferation and differentiation of equine BMSC into osteoblasts, and 2) the expression of key transcription factors during the differentiation of equine BMSC into osteoblasts. Equine BMSC were isolated from the sterna of 3 horses, treated with purchased fetal bovine serum (FBS) or autologous horse serum (HS), and cell proliferation determined. To induce osteoblast differentiation, cells were incubated with L-ascorbic acid-2-phosphate and glycerol-2-phosphate in the presence or absence of human bone morphogenetic protein2 (BMP2), dexamethasone (DEX), or combination of the two. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, a marker of osteoblast differentiation, was determined by ELISA. Total RNA was isolated from differentiating BMSC between d 0 to 18 to determine expression of runt-related transcription factor2 (Runx2), osterix (Osx), and T-box3 (Tbx3). Data were analyzed by ANOVA.
Relative to control, FBS and HS increased cell number (133 ± 5 and 116 ± 5%, respectively; P < 0.001) and 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation (167 ± 6 and 120 ± 6%, respectively; P < 0.001). Treatment with DEX increased ALP activity compared with control (1,638 ± 38%; P < 0.001). In the absence and presence of Dex, BMP-2 did not alter ALP activity (P > 0.8). Runt-related transcription factor2 expression increased 3-fold (P < 0.001) by d 6 of culture. Osterix expression increased 9-fold (P < 0.05) by d 18 of culture. Expression of Tbx3 increased 1.8-fold at d 3 (P < 0.01); however expression was reduced 4-fold at d 18 (P < 0.01).
Dexamethasone, but not BMP-2, is required for differentiation of equine BMSC into osteoblasts. In addition, expression of Runx2 and osterix increased and expression of Tbx3 is reduced during differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3874597  PMID: 24169030
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; Cell culture; Equine; Osteoblasts; Transcription factors
17.  Rapid prototyped porous nickel–titanium scaffolds as bone substitutes 
Journal of Tissue Engineering  2014;5:2041731414540674.
While calcium phosphate–based ceramics are currently the most widely used materials in bone repair, they generally lack tensile strength for initial load bearing. Bulk titanium is the gold standard of metallic implant materials, but does not match the mechanical properties of the surrounding bone, potentially leading to problems of fixation and bone resorption. As an alternative, nickel–titanium alloys possess a unique combination of mechanical properties including a relatively low elastic modulus, pseudoelasticity, and high damping capacity, matching the properties of bone better than any other metallic material. With the ultimate goal of fabricating porous implants for spinal, orthopedic and dental applications, nickel–titanium substrates were fabricated by means of selective laser melting. The response of human mesenchymal stromal cells to the nickel–titanium substrates was compared to mesenchymal stromal cells cultured on clinically used titanium. Selective laser melted titanium as well as surface-treated nickel–titanium and titanium served as controls. Mesenchymal stromal cells had similar proliferation rates when cultured on selective laser melted nickel–titanium, clinically used titanium, or controls. Osteogenic differentiation was similar for mesenchymal stromal cells cultured on the selected materials, as indicated by similar gene expression levels of bone sialoprotein and osteocalcin. Mesenchymal stromal cells seeded and cultured on porous three-dimensional selective laser melted nickel–titanium scaffolds homogeneously colonized the scaffold, and following osteogenic induction, filled the scaffold’s pore volume with extracellular matrix. The combination of bone-related mechanical properties of selective laser melted nickel–titanium with its cytocompatibility and support of osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells highlights its potential as a superior bone substitute as compared to clinically used titanium.
PMCID: PMC4221926  PMID: 25383165
Bone tissue engineering; osteogenic differentiation; nickel–titanium; scaffold; selective laser melting
18.  Osteogenic Protein-1 for Long Bone Nonunion 
Executive Summary
To assess the efficacy of osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) for long bone nonunion.
Clinical Need
Although most fractures heal within a normal period, about 5% to 10% do not heal and are classified as delayed or nonunion fractures. Nonunion and segmental bone loss after fracture, reconstructive surgery, or lesion excision can present complex orthopedic problems, and the multiple surgical procedures often needed are associated with patient morbidity and reduced quality of life.
Many factors contribute to the pathogenesis of a delayed union or nonunion fractures, including deficiencies of calcium, vitamin D, or vitamin C, and side effects of medications such as anticoagulants, steroids, some anti-inflammatory drugs, and radiation. It has been shown that smoking interferes with bone repair in several ways.
Incidence of Nonunion and Delayed Union Cases
An estimated 5% to 10% of fractures do not heal properly and go on to delayed union or nonunion. If this overall estimate of incidence were applied to the Ontario population1, the estimated number of delayed union or nonunion in the province would be between 3,863 and 7,725.
Treatment of Nonunion Cases
The treatment of nonunion cases is a challenge to orthopedic surgeons. However, the basic principle behind treatment is to provide both mechanical and biological support to the nonunion site.
Fracture stabilization and immobilization is frequently used with the other treatment modalities that provide biological support to the fractured bone. Biological support includes materials that could be served as a source of osteogenic cells (osteogenesis), a stimulator of mesenchymal cells (osteoinduction), or a scaffold-like structure (osteoconduction).
The capacity to heal a fracture is a latent potential of the stromal stem cells, which synthesize new bone. This process has been defined as osteogenesis. Activation of the stem cells to initiate osteogenic response and to differentiate into bone-forming osteoblasts is called osteoinduction. These 2 properties accelerate the rate of fracture healing or reactivate the ineffective healing process. Osteoconduction occurs when passive structures facilitate the migration of osteoprogenitor cells, the perivascular tissue, and capillaries into these structures.
Bone Grafts and Bone Graft Substitutes
Bone graft and bone graft substitutes have one or more of the following components:
Undifferentiated stem cells
Growth factors
Structural lattice
Undifferentiated stem cells are unspecialized, multipotential cells that can differentiate into a variety of specialized cells. They can also replicate themselves. The role of stem cells is to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are residing. A single stem cell can generate all cell types of that tissue. Bone marrow is a source of at least 2 kinds of stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells that form all types of blood cells, and bone marrow stromal stem cells that have osteogenic properties and can generate bone, cartilage, and fibrous tissue.
Bone marrow has been used to stimulate bone formation in bone defects and cases of nonunion fractures. Bone marrow can be aspirated from the iliac crest and injected percutaneously with fluoroscopic guidance into the site of the nonunion fracture. The effectiveness of this technique depends on the number and activity of stem cells in the aspirated bone marrow. It may be possible to increase the proliferation and speed differentiation of stem cells by exposing them to growth factor or by combining them with collagen.
Many growth factors and cytokines induced in response to injury are believed to have a considerable role in the process of repair. Of the many bone growth factors studied, bone morphogenetics (BMPs) have generated the greatest attention because of their osteoinductive potential. The BMPs that have been most widely studied for their ability to induce bone regeneration in humans include BMP-2 and BMP-7 (osteogenic protein). Human osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) has been cloned and produced with recombinant technology and is free from the risk of infection or allergic reaction.
The structural lattice is osteoconductive; it supports the ingrowth of developing capillaries and perivascular tissues. Three distinct groups of structural lattice have been identified: collagen, calcium sulphate, and calcium phosphate. These materials can be used to replace a lost segment of bone.
Grafts Used for Nonunion
Autologous bone graft is generally considered the gold standard and the best material for grafting because it contains several elements that are critical in promoting bone formation, including osteoprogenitor cells, the matrix, and bone morphogenetic proteins. The osteoconductive property of cancellous autograft is related to the porosity of bone. The highly porous, scaffold-like structure of the graft allows host osteoblasts and host osteoprogenitor cells to migrate easily into the area of the defect and to begin regeneration of bone. Sources of cancellous bone are the iliac crest, the distal femur, the greater trochanter, and the proximal tibia. However, harvesting the autologous bone graft is associated with postoperative pain at the donor site, potential injury to the surrounding arteries, nerves, and tissues, and the risk of infection. Thus the development of synthetic materials with osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties that can eliminate the need for harvesting has become a major goal of orthopedic research.
Allograft is the graft of tissue between individuals who are of the same species but are of a disparate genotype. Allograft has osteoconductive and limited osteoinductive properties. Demineralized bone matrix (DBM) is human cortical and cancellous allograft. These products are prepared by acid extraction of allograft bone, resulting in the loss of most of the mineralized component while collagen and noncollagenous proteins, including growth factors, are retained. Figures 1 to 5 demonstrate the osteogenic, osteoinduction, and osteoconduction properties of autologous bone graft, allograft, OP-1, bone graft substitutes, and bone marrow.
Autologous Bone Graft
Osteogenic Protein-1
Allograft bone and Demineralized Bone Matrix
Bone Graft Substitutes
Autologous Bone Marrow Graft
New Technology Being Reviewed: Osteogenic Protein-1
Health Canada issued a Class IV licence for OP-1 in June 2004 (licence number 36320). The manufacturer of OP-1 is Stryker Biotech (Hapkinton, MA).
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a humanitarian device exemption for the application of the OP-1 implant as an “alternative to autograft in recalcitrant long bone nonunions where use of autograft is unfeasible and alternative treatments have failed.” Regulatory agencies in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have permitted the use of this implant in specific cases, such as in tibial nonunions, or in more general cases, such as in long bone nonunions.
According to the manufacturer, OP-1 is indicated for the treatment of long bone nonunions. It is contraindicated in the patient has a hypersensitivity to the active substance or collagen, and it should not be applied at the site of a resected tumour that is at or near the defect or fracture. Finally, it should not be used in patients who are skeletally immature (< 18 years of age), or if there is no radiological evidence of closure of epiphysis.
Review Strategy
To summarize the safety profile and effectiveness of OP-1 in the treatment of cases of long bone nonunion and bone defects
To compare the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of OP-1 in the treatment of long bone nonunions and bone defects with the alternative technologies, particularly the gold standard autologous bone graft.
Literature Search
International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessments (INAHTA), the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the CCTR (formerly Cochrane Controlled Trials Register) were searched for health technology assessments. MEDLINE, EMBASE, Medline In Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations were searched from January 1, 1996 to January 27, 2004 for studies on OP-1. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies. The search yielded 47 citations. Three studies met inclusion criteria (2 RCTs and 1 Ontario-based study presented at an international conference.
Summary of Findings
Friedlaender et al. conducted a prospective, randomized, partially blinded clinical trial on the treatment tibial nonunions with OP-1. Tibial nonunions were chosen for this study because of their high frequency, challenging treatment requirements, and substantial morbidity. All of the nonunions were at least 9 months old and had shown no progress toward healing over the previous 3 months. The patients were randomized to receive either treatment with autologous bone grafting or treatment with OP-1 in a type-1 collagen carrier. Both groups received reduction and fixation with an intramedullary rod. Table 1 summarizes the clinical outcomes of this study.
Outcomes in a Randomized Clinical Trial on Tibial Nonunions: Osteogenic Protein-1 versus Autologous Bone Grafting
Clinical success was defined as full weight-bearing, loss of severe pain at the fracture site on weight-bearing, and no further surgical treatment to enhance fracture repair.
The results of this study demonstrated that recombinant OP-1 is associated with substantial clinical and radiographic success for the treatment of tibial nonunions when used with intramedullary rod fixation. No adverse event related to sensitization was reported. Five per cent of the patients in the OP-1 group had circulating antibodies against type 1 collagen. Only 10% of the patients had a low level of anti-OP-1 antibodies, and all effects were transient. Furthermore, the success rate with the OP-1 implant was comparable with those achieved with autograft at 9 and 24 months follow-up. Eighty-two per cent of patients were successful at 24 months follow-up in both groups.
Statistically significant increased blood loss in the group treated with the autograft was observed (P = .049). Patients treated with autograft had longer operation and hospitalization times. All patients in the autograft group had pain at the donor site after surgery, and more than 80% judged their postoperative pain as moderate or severe. At their 6-month visit, 20% of the patients in the autograft group had persistent pain, mild or moderate in nature, at the donor site. This number fell to 13% at 12 months.
All patients in each of the groups had at least 1 adverse event that wasn’t serious, such as fever, nausea and vomiting, leg edema, discomfort, and bruising at the operative site. The incidence of these events was similar in both groups. Serious adverse events were observed in 44% of both groups, none of which were considered related to the OP-1 implant or autograft.
On the basis of this data, the FDA issued a humanitarian device exemption for the application of OP-1 implant as an alternative to autograft in recalcitrant long bone nonunions when the use of autograft is unfeasible and alternative treatments have failed.
Study on Fibular Defects
Geesink et al. investigated the osteogenic activity of OP-1 by assessing its value in bridging fibular defects made at the time of tibial osteotomy for varus or valgus deformity of the knee. This study had 2 phases and included 12 patients in each phase. Each phase included 12 patients (6 in each group). Patients in the first phase received either DBM or were left untreated. Patients in the second phase received either OP-1 on collagen type-1 or collagen type-1 alone.
Radiological and Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) evaluation showed that in patients in whom the defect was left untreated, no formation of bone occurred. At 12 months follow-up, new bone formation with bridging occurred in 4 of the 6 patients in DMB group, and 5 of the 6 patients in OP-1 group. One patient in OP-1 group did not show any evidence of new bone formation at any point during the study.
Ontario Pilot Study
A prospective pilot study was conducted in Ontario, Canada to investigate the safety and efficacy of OP-1 for the treatment of recalcitrant long bone nonunions. The study looked at 15 patients with complex, recalcitrant, long bone nonunions whose previous treatment had failed. The investigators concluded that this bone graft substitute appears to be safe and effective in providing sufficient biological stimulation in difficult to treat nonunions. Results of a more complete study on 70 patients are ready for publication. According to the principal investigator, OP-1 was 90% effective in inducing bone formation and bone healing in this sample.
Alternative Technologies
The Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a literature search from January 1, 2000 to February 28, 2005 to identify studies on nonunions/bone defects that had been treated with alternative technologies. A review of these studies showed that, in addition to the gold standard autologous bone marrow grafting, bone allografts, demineralized bone matrices, bone graft substitutes, and autologous bone marrow have been used for treatment of nonunions and bone defects. These studies were categorized according to the osteoinductive, osteoconductive, and osteogenesis properties of the technologies studied.
A review of these studies showed that bone allografts have been used mostly in various reconstruction procedures to restore the defect after excavating a bone lesion. Two studies investigated the effectiveness of DBM in healing fracture nonunions. Calcium phosphate and calcium sulphate have been used mostly for repair of bone defects.
Several investigators have looked at the use of autologous bone marrow for treatment of long bone nonunions. The results of these studies show that method of percutaneous bone marrow grafting is highly effective in the treatment of long bone nonunions. In a total of 301 fractures across all studies, 268 (89%) healed with a mean healing time of 2.5 to 8 months. This healing time as derived from these case series is less than the timing of the primary end point in Friedlaender’s study (9 months). Table 2 summarizes the results of these studies. Table 2 summarizes the results of these studies.
Studies that used Percutaneous Bone Marrow Grafting for Treatment of Nonunions
Economic Analysis
Based on annual estimated incidence of long-bone nonunion of 3,863 - 7,725, the annual hospitalization costs associated with this condition is between $21.2 and $42.3 million based on a unit cost of $5,477 per hospital separation. When utilized, the device, a single vial of OP-1, is approximately $5,000 and if adopted universally in Ontario, the total device costs would be in the range of $19.3 - $38.6 million annually. The physician fee for harvest, insertion of bone, or OP-1 is $193 and is $193 for autologous bone marrow transplantation. Total annual physician costs are expected to be in the range of from $0.7 million to $1.3 million per year. Expenditures associated with long-bone nonunion are unlikely to increase since incidence of long-bone nonunion is unlikely to change in the future. However, the rate of uptake of OP-1 could have a significant impact on costs if the uptake were large.
The use of OP-1 and autologous bone marrow transplantation may offset pain medication costs compared with those associated with autologous bone harvest given that the former procedures do not involve the pain associated with the bone harvest site. However, given that this pain is normally not permanent, the overall offset is likely to be small. There are likely to be smaller OHIP costs associated with OP-1 than bone-harvest procedures given that only 1, rather than 2, incisions are needed when comparing the former with the latter procedure. This offset could amount to between $0.3 million to $0.7 million annually.
No data on the cost-effectiveness of OP-1 is available.
PMCID: PMC3382627  PMID: 23074475
19.  Regulation of BMP-Induced Transcription in Cultured Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells 
Adherent bone marrow stromal cells are inducible osteoprogenitors, giving rise to cells expressing osteoblast markers including alkaline phosphatase, osteopontin, osteocalcin, and bone sialoprotein. However, the potency of inducers varies in a species-specific manner. Glucocorticoids such as dexamethasone induce alkaline phosphatase activity in both human and rat mesenchymal stem cells, while mouse bone marrow stromal cells are refractory to dexamethasone-induced alkaline phosphatase activity. In contrast, BMP induces alkaline phosphatase activity in both mouse and rat bone marrow stromal cells, while BMP effects on human bone marrow stromal cells are poorly characterized.
Bone marrow samples were isolated from patients undergoing hip replacement. Mononuclear marrow cells were cultured and grown to confluence without or with 10−7M dexamethasone. Cells from each isolate were passaged into medium containing 100 μg/mL ascorbate phosphate and treated with dexamethasone, 100 ng/mL BMP, or no inducer. At day 6, alkaline phosphatase activity was assayed, and RNA was prepared for mRNA analyses by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Bone marrow stromal cells from twenty-four of twenty-six patients showed no significant osteogenic response to BMP-2, 4, or 7 as determined by alkaline phosphatase induction. However, BMPs induced elevated levels of other genes associated with osteogenesis such as bone sialoprotein and osteopontin as well as BMP-2 and noggin. If primary cultures of human bone marrow stromal cells were pretreated with dexamethasone, BMP-2 treatment of first-passage cells induced alkaline phosphatase in approximately half of the isolates, and significantly greater induction was seen in cells from males. Dexamethasone treatment, like BMP treatment, also increased expression of the BMP-binding protein noggin.
Most human femur bone marrow stromal cell samples appear incapable of expressing elevated alkaline phosphatase levels in response to BMPs. Since BMP treatment induced expression of several other BMP-regulated genes, the defect in alkaline phosphatase induction is presumably not due to impaired BMP signaling. We hypothesize that the mechanism by which BMPs modulate alkaline phosphatase expression is indirect, involving a BMP-regulated transcription factor for alkaline phosphatase expression that is controlled differently in humans and rodents.
Clinical Relevance
We suggest that the relative insensitivity of alkaline phosphatase to BMP induction in human bone marrow stromal cells may contribute to the variation in efficacy reported with BMP in clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC1351076  PMID: 12925605
20.  Effect of Grafting BMP2 Derived Peptide to Nanoparticles on Osteogenic and Vasculogenic Expression of Stromal Cells 
Bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2) plays a major role in initiating the cascade of osteogenesis. However, high doses of exogenous BMP2 coupled with diffusion away from the intended site cause adverse side effects. An alternative is to use biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) grafted with peptides of the active domains of BMP2. NPs present a multivalent form of the peptide for stronger interaction with cell surface receptors, leading to a stronger activation of osteogenic signaling pathways. The objective of this work was to compare osteogenic activity of the BMP2 peptide (BMP2Pe), corresponding to residues 73–92 of BMP2 protein (BMP2Pr), grafted to biodegradable NPs with that of BMP2 protein (BMP2Pr). BMP2Pe was functionalized with a cysteine residue and grafted to poly(lactide fumarate) and poly(lactide-co-ethylene oxide fumarate) (PLAF/PLEOF) NPs via a thioether link. The calcium content of bone marrow stromal (BMS) cells cultured in osteogenic media supplemented with BMP2 peptide/protein grafted NPs (BMP2Pe-gNP and BMP2Pr-gNP) was slightly higher than other BMP2 treated groups, but all osteogenic groups showed similar levels of mineralization after 21 days. The expression pattern of master transcription factors Dlx5 and Runx2 indicated that BMP2 protein induced a faster osteogenic signaling than the BMP peptide. The expression level of Osteopontin, Osteocalcin, and PECAM-1 in the NP grafted BMP2 groups was significantly higher than those of ungrafted BMP2Pr and BMP2Pe groups, which may be due to a more effective presentation of the peptide/protein to cell surface receptors, thus leading to a stronger interaction of the peptide/protein with clustered cell surface receptors.
PMCID: PMC4076642  PMID: 22764116
nanoparticles; grafting; bone morphogenetic peptide; osteogenesis; marrow stromal cells; gene expression
21.  Bone morphogenetic protein-2 converts the differentiation pathway of C2C12 myoblasts into the osteoblast lineage [published erratum appears in J Cell Biol 1995 Feb;128(4):following 713] 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;127(6):1755-1766.
The implantation of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) into muscular tissues induces ectopic bone formation at the site of implantation. To investigate the mechanism underlying this process, we examined whether recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) converts the differentiation pathway of the clonal myoblastic cell line, C2C12, into that of osteoblast lineage. Incubating the cells with 300 ng/ml of BMP- 2 for 6 d almost completely inhibited the formation of the multinucleated myotubes expressing troponin T and myosin heavy chain, and induced the appearance of numerous alkaline phosphatase (ALP)- positive cells. BMP-2 dose dependently induced ALP activity, parathyroid hormone (PTH)-dependent 3',5'-cAMP production, and osteocalcin production at concentrations above 100 ng/ml. The concentration of BMP-2 required to induce these osteoblastic phenotypes was the same as that required to almost completely inhibit myotube formation. Incubating primary muscle cells with 300 ng/ml of BMP-2 for 6 d also inhibited myotube formation, whereas induced ALP activity and osteocalcin production. Incubation with 300 ng/ml of BMP-2 suppressed the expression of mRNA for muscle creatine kinase within 6 h, whereas it induced mRNA expression for ALP, PTH/PTH-related protein (PTHrP) receptors, and osteocalcin within 24-48 h. BMP-2 completely inhibited the expression of myogenin mRNA by day 3. By day 3, BMP-2 also inhibited the expression of MyoD mRNA, but it was transiently stimulated 12 h after exposure to BMP-2. Expression of Id-1 mRNA was greatly stimulated by BMP-2. When C2C12 cells pretreated with BMP-2 for 6 d were transferred to a colony assay system in the absence of BMP-2, more than 84% of the colonies generated became troponin T-positive and ALP activity disappeared. TGF-beta 1 also inhibited myotube formation in C2C12 cells, and suppressed the expression of myogenin and MyoD mRNAs without inducing that of Id-1 mRNA. However, no osteoblastic phenotype was induced by TGF-beta 1 in C2C12 cells. TGF-beta 1 potentiated the inhibitory effect of BMP-2 on myotube formation, whereas TGF-beta 1 reduced ALP activity and osteocalcin production induced by BMP-2 in C2C12 cells. These results indicate that BMP-2 specifically converts the differentiation pathway of C2C12 myoblasts into that of osteoblast lineage cells, but that the conversion is not heritable.
PMCID: PMC2120318  PMID: 7798324
22.  BMP-Non-Responsive Sca1+CD73+CD44+ Mouse Bone Marrow Derived Osteoprogenitor Cells Respond to Combination of VEGF and BMP-6 to Display Enhanced Osteoblastic Differentiation and Ectopic Bone Formation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103060.
Clinical trials on fracture repair have challenged the effectiveness of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) but suggest that delivery of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) might be beneficial. It has also been reported that BMPs could not increase mineralization in several MSCs populations, which adds ambiguity to the use of BMPs. However, an exogenous supply of MSCs combined with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and BMPs is reported to synergistically enhance fracture repair in animal models. To elucidate the mechanism of this synergy, we investigated the osteoblastic differentiation of cloned mouse bone marrow derived MSCs (D1 cells) in vitro in response to human recombinant proteins of VEGF, BMPs (-2, -4, -6, -9) and the combination of VEGF with BMP-6 (most potent BMP). We further investigated ectopic bone formation induced by MSCs pre-conditioned with VEGF, BMP-6 or both. No significant increase in mineralization, phosphorylation of Smads 1/5/8 and expression of the ALP, COL1A1 and osterix genes was observed upon addition of VEGF or BMPs alone to the cells in culture. The lack of CD105, Alk1 and Alk6 expression in D1 cells correlated with poor response to BMPs indicating that a greater care in the selection of MSCs is necessary. Interestingly, the combination of VEGF and BMP-6 significantly increased the expression of ALP, COL1A1 and osterix genes and D1 cells pre-conditioned with VEGF and BMP-6 induced greater bone formation in vivo than the non-conditioned control cells or the cells pre-conditioned with either VEGF or BMP-6 alone. This enhanced bone formation by MSCs correlated with higher CADM1 expression and OPG/RANKL ratio in the implants. Thus, combined action of VEGF and BMP on MSCs enhances osteoblastic differentiation of MSCs and increases their bone forming ability, which cannot be achieved through use of BMPs alone. This strategy can be effectively used for bone repair.
PMCID: PMC4105618  PMID: 25048464
23.  BMP Signaling Is Required for RUNX2-Dependent Induction of the Osteoblast Phenotype 
RUNX2 expression in mesenchymal cells induces osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. BMP blocking agents were used to show that RUNX2-dependent osteoblast differentiation and transactivation activity both require BMP signaling and, further, that RUNX2 enhances the responsiveness of cells to BMPs.
BMPs and the RUNX2 transcription factor are both able to stimulate osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. BMPs function by activating SMAD proteins and other signal transduction pathways to stimulate expression of many target genes including RUNX2. In contrast, RUNX2 induces osteoblast-specific gene expression by directly binding to enhancer regions in target genes. In this study, we examine the interdependence of these two factors in controlling osteoblast differentiation in mesenchymal progenitor cells.
Materials and Methods
C3H10T1/2 mesenchymal cells and primary cultures of marrow stromal cells were transduced with a RUNX2 adenovirus and treated with BMP blocking antibodies or the natural antagonist, NOGGIN. Osteoblast differentiation was determined by assaying alkaline phosphatase and measuring osteoblast-related mRNA using quantitative RT/PCR. Activation of BMP-responsive signal transduction pathways (SMAD, extracellular signal-regulated kinase [ERK], p38, and c-jun-N-terminal kinase [JNK]) was assessed on Western blots.
Results and Conclusions
C3H10T1/2 cells constitutively synthesize BMP2 and 4 mRNA and protein, and this BMP activity is sufficient to activate basal levels of SMAD phosphorylation. Inhibition of BMP signaling was shown to disrupt the ability of RUNX2 to stimulate osteoblast differentiation and transactivate an osteocalcin gene promoter-luciferase reporter in C3H10T1/2 cells. BMP blocking antibodies also inhibited RUNX2-dependent osteoblast differentiation in primary cultures of murine marrow stromal cells. Conversely, RUNX2 expression synergistically stimulated BMP2 signaling in C3H10T1/2 cells. However, RUNX2 did not increase the ability of this BMP to activate SMAD, ERK, p38, and JNK pathways. This study shows that autocrine BMP production is necessary for the RUNX2 transcription factor to be active and that BMPs and RUNX2 cooperatively interact to stimulate osteoblast gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2435171  PMID: 16598384
osteoblast; BMP/SMAD; transcriptional factors; RUNX2
24.  In Vitro and In Vivo Synergistic Interactions Between the Runx2/Cbfa1 Transcription Factor and Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 in Stimulating Osteoblast Differentiation 
Bone regeneration requires interactions between a number of factors including bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), growth factors, and transcriptional regulators such as Runx2/Cbfa1 (Runx2). Because each component may provide a unique contribution to the overall osteogenic response, we hypothesized that bone formation may be enhanced by using combinations of complimentary factors. As an initial test of this concept, interactions between BMP2 and Runx2 were examined using adenovirus-based expression vectors (AdCMV-Runx2, AdCMV-BMP2) in the pluripotent C3H10T1/2 cell line. Cells transduced with AdCMV-Runx2 strongly expressed osteoblast markers, such as alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin, but formed only a weakly mineralized extracellular matrix in vitro, whereas cells transduced with AdCMV-BMP2 exhibited higher levels of mineralization, but only expressed low levels of Runx2 and osteocalcin mRNA. Significantly, when cells were transduced with optimal titers of both viruses, osteoblast differentiation was stimulated to levels that were 10-fold greater than those seen with either AdCMV-Runx2 or AdCMV-BMP2 alone. To measure in vivo osteogenic activity, virally transduced cells were subcutaneously implanted into immunodeficient mice. Cells transduced with control virus produced only fibrous tissue while those with AdCMV-Runx2 produced limited amounts of both cartilage and bone. In contrast, cells transduced with either AdCMV-BMP2 alone or AdCMV-BMP2 plus AdCMV-Cbfa1 generated large ossicles containing cartilage, bone, and a marrow cavity. However, ossification in the AdCMV-BMP2 plus AdCMV-Cbfa1 group was more extensive in that both mineral content and fractional bone area were greater than that seen in the AdCMV-BMP2 group. Thus, the increased osteoblast differentiation observed with combined adenovirus treatment in vitro is also manifested by increased bone formation in vivo. These results suggest that Runx2 and BMP2 have distinct, but complementary, roles in osteogenesis and that their combined actions may be necessary for optimal bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3565159  PMID: 12674331
Runx2; bone morphogenetic protein-2; gene therapy; osteoblast; adenovirus
25.  Overexpression of heme oxygenase-1 increases human osteoblast stem cell differentiation 
Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are pleiotrophic cells that differentiate to either adipocytes or osteoblasts as a result of crosstalk by specific signaling pathways including heme oxygenase (HO)-1/-2 expression. We examined the effect of inducers of HO-1 expression and inhibitors of HO activity on MSC differentiation to the osteoblast and following high glucose exposure. MSC cultured in osteogenic medium increased expression of osteonectin, Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX-2), osteocalcin, and alkaline phosphatase. HO-1 expression during differentiation was initially decreased and then followed by a rebound increase after 15 days of culture. Additionally, the effect of HO-1 on osteoblasts appears different to that seen in adipocyte stem cells. On addition of a cobalt compound, the resultant induction of HO-1 decreases adipogenesis. Moreover, glucose (30 mM) inhibited osteoblast differentiation, as evidenced by decreased bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2, osteonectin, osteocalcin, and osteoprotegerin (OPG). In contrast, MSC-derived adipocytes were increased by glucose. Increased HO-1 expression increased the levels of osteonectin, OPG, and BMP-2. Inhibition of HO activity prevented the increase in osteonectin and potentiated the decrease of osteocalcin and OPG in cells exposed to high glucose levels. Furthermore, targeting HO-1 expression increased pAMPK and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and restored osteoblastic markers. Our findings suggest that targeting HO-1 gene expression attenuates the hyperglycemia-mediated decrease in MSC-derived osteoblast differentiation. Finally, the mechanism underlying the HO-1-specific cell effect on osteoblasts and adipocytes is yet to be explored. Thus, the targeting of HO-1 gene expression presents a portal to increase osteoblast function and differentiation and attenuate osteoporosis by promoting bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3073406  PMID: 19924377
Osteopenia; Osteoporosis; MSC; Diabetes; HO-1

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