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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.  Coordinated Regulation of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiation on Microstructured Titanium Surfaces by Endogenous Bone Morphogenetic Proteins 
Bone  2014;0:208-216.
Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) differentiate into osteoblasts on microstructured titanium (Ti) surfaces without addition of medium supplements, suggesting that surface-dependent endogenous mechanisms are involved. They produce bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), which regulate MSC differentiation and bone formation via autocrine/paracrine mechanisms that are modulated by changes in BMP mRNA and protein, receptors, and inhibitors (Noggin, Cerberus, Gremlin 1, and Chordin). We examined expression of BMPs, their receptors and their inhibitors over time and used BMP2-silenced cells to determine how modulating endogenous BMP signaling can affect the process. MSCs were cultured on tissue culture polystyrene or Ti [PT (Ra<0.4μm); sandblasted/acid-etched Ti (SLA, Ra=3.2μm); or hydrophilic-SLA (modSLA)]. BMP mRNAs and proteins increased by day 4 of culture. Exogenous BMP2 increased differentiation whereas differentiation was decreased in BMP2-silenced cells. Noggin was regulated by day 2 whereas Gremlin 1 and Cerberus were regulated after 6 days. Osteoblastic differentiation increased in cells cultured with blocking antibodies against Noggin, Gremlin 1, and Cerberus. Endogenous BMPs enhance an osteogenic microenvironment whereas exogenous BMPs are inhibitory. Antibody blocking of the BMP2 inhibitor Cerberus resulted in IL-6 and IL-8 levels that were similar to those observed when treating cells with exogenous BMP2, while antibodies targeting the inhibitors Gremlin or Noggin did not. These results suggest that microstructured titanium implants supporting therapeutic stem cells may be treated with appropriately selected agents antagonistic to extracellular BMP inhibitors in order to enhance BMP2 mediated bone repair while avoiding undesirable inflammatory side effects observed with exogenous BMP2 treatment.
PMCID: PMC4336815  PMID: 25554602
Stromal/Stem Cells; BMP signaling; Titanium; Implants; Surface roughness
3.  Cationic Nanogel-mediated Runx2 and Osterix siRNA Delivery Decreases Mineralization in MC3T3 Cells 
Heterotopic ossification (HO) may occur after musculoskeletal trauma, traumatic brain injury, and total joint arthroplasty. As such, HO is a compelling clinical concern in both military and civilian medicine. A possible etiology of HO involves dysregulated signals in the bone morphogenetic protein osteogenic cascade. Contemporary treatment options for HO (ie, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and radiation therapy) have adverse effects associated with their use and are not biologically engineered to abrogate the molecular mechanisms that govern osteogenic differentiation.
We hypothesized that (1) nanogel-mediated short interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery against Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and osterix (Osx) genes will decrease messenger RNA expression; (2) inhibit activity of the osteogenic marker alkaline phosphatase (ALP); and (3) inhibit hydroxyapatite (HA) deposition in osteoblast cell cultures.
Nanogel nanostructured polymers delivered siRNA in 48-hour treatment cycles against master osteogenic regulators, Runx2 and Osx, in murine calvarial preosteoblasts (MC3T3-E1.4) stimulated for osteogenic differentiation by recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP-2). The efficacy of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics was determined by quantitation of messenger RNA knockdown (by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction), downstream protein knockdown (determined ALP enzymatic activity assay), and HA deposition (determined by OsteoImage™ assay).
Gene expression assays demonstrated that nanogel-based RNAi treatments at 1:1 and 5:1 nanogel:short interfering RNA weight ratios reduced Runx2 expression by 48.59% ± 19.53% (p < 0.001) and 43.22% ± 18.01% (both p < 0.001). The same 1:1 and 5:1 treatments against both Runx2 and Osx reduced expression of Osx by 51.65% ± 10.85% and 47.65% ± 9.80% (both p < 0.001). Moreover, repeated 48-hour RNAi treatment cycles against Runx2 and Osx rhBMP-2 administration reduced ALP activity after 4 and 7 days. ALP reductions after 4 days in culture by nanogel 5:1 and 10:1 RNAi treatments were 32.4% ± 12.0% and 33.6% ± 13.8% (both p < 0.001). After 7 days in culture, nanogel 1:1 and 5:1 RNAi treatments produced 35.9% ± 14.0% and 47.7% ± 3.2% reductions in ALP activity. Osteoblast mineralization data after 21 days suggested that nanogel 1:1, 5:1, and 10:1 RNAi treatments decreased mineralization (ie, HA deposition) from cultures treated only with rhBMP-2 (p < 0.001). However, despite RNAi attack on Runx2 and Osx, HA deposition levels remained greater than non-rhBMP-2-treated cell cultures.
Although mRNA and protein knockdown were confirmed as a result of RNAi treatments against Runx2 and Osx, complete elimination of mineralization processes was not achieved. RNAi targeting mid- and late-stage osteoblast differentiation markers such as ALP, osteocalcin, osteopontin, and bone sialoprotein) may produce the desired RNAi-nanogel nanostructured polymer HO prophylaxis.
Clinical Relevance
Successful HO prophylaxis should target and silence osteogenic markers critical for heterotopic bone formation processes. The identification of such markers, beyond RUNX2 and OSX, may enhance the effectiveness of RNAi prophylaxes for HO.
PMCID: PMC4418993  PMID: 25448327
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Microstructured zirconia surfaces modulate osteogenic marker genes in human primary osteoblasts 
In dentistry, zirconia has been used since the early 1990s for endodontic posts, more recently for implant abutments and frameworks for fixed dental prostheses. Zirconia is biocompatible and mechanically strong enough to serve as implant material for oral implants. Although several zirconia implant systems are available, currently the scientific and clinical data for zirconia implants are not sufficient to recommend them for routine clinical use. Here the influence of microstructured yttria-stabilized zirconia (YZ) on human primary osteoblast (HOB) behavior was determined. YZ surfaces were treated by sandblasting (YZ-S), acid etching (YZ-SE) and additionally heat treatment (YZ-SEH). Morphological changes of HOB were determined by scanning electron microscopy. Actin cytoskeleton was investigated by laser scanning microscopy and analyzed by novel actin quantification software. Differentiation of HOB was determined by real time RT-PCR. Improved mechanical interlocking of primary HOB into the porous microstructure of the acid etched and additionally heat treated YZ-surfaces correlates with drastically increased osteocalcin (OCN) gene expression. In particular, OCN was considerably elevated in primary HOB after 3 days on YZ-SE (13-fold) as well as YZ-SEH (12-fold) surfaces. Shorter actin filaments without any favored orientation on YZ-SE and YZ-SEH surfaces are associated with higher roughness (Ra) values. Topographically modified yttria-stabilized zirconia is a likely material for dental implants with cell stimulating properties achieving or actually exceeding those of titanium.
PMCID: PMC4289972  PMID: 25578704
7.  In vitro characterization of an osteoinductive biphasic calcium phosphate in combination with recombinant BMP2 
BMC Oral Health  2016;17:35.
The repair of alveolar bone defects with growth factors and bone grafting materials has played a pivotal role in modern dentistry. Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP2), an osteoinductive growth factor capable of cell recruitment and differentiation towards the osteoblast lineage, has been utilized in combination with various biomaterials to further enhance new bone formation. Recently, a group of novel biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) bone grafting materials have been demonstrated to possess osteoinductive properties by demonstrating signs of ectopic bone formation. The aim of the present study was to study the effects of rhBMP2 in combination with osteoinductive BCP bone grafts on osteoblast cell behaviour.
MC3T3-E1 pre-osteoblasts were seeded on 1) control tissue culture plastic, 2) 10 mg of BCP alone, 3) 100 ng rhBMP2, and 4) 100 ng rhBMP2+ 10 mg of BCP and analyzed for cell recruitment via a Transwell chamber, proliferation via an MTS assay and differentiation as assessed by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, alizarin red staining and real-time PCR for osteoblast differentiation markers including Runx2, collagen1, ALP, and osteocalcin (OCN).
rhBMP2 was able to significantly upregulate cell recruitment whereas the addition of BCP as well as BCP alone had no additional ability to improve osteoblast recruitment. Both BCP and rhBMP2 were able to significantly increase cell proliferation at 3 and 5 days post seeding and cell number was further enhanced when rhBMP2 was combined with BCP. In addition, the combination of rhBMP2 with BCP significantly improved ALP activity at 7 and 14 days post seeding, alizarin red staining at 14 days, and mRNA levels of Runx2, ALP and osteocalcin when compared to cells seeded with rhBMP2 alone or BCP alone.
The results from the present study demonstrate that 1) the osteoinductive potential of BCP bone particles is equally as osteopromotive as rhBMP2 on in vitro osteoblast differentiation and 2) BCP particles in combination with rhBMP2 is able to further increase the osteopromotive differentiation of osteoblasts in vitro when compared to either rhBMP2 alone or BCP alone. Future animal testing is further required to investigate this combination approach on new bone formation.
PMCID: PMC4971713  PMID: 27485617
Bone morphogenetic protein; Vivoss; BCP; Growth factors; Guided bone regeneration
8.  Injectable chitosan microparticles incorporating bone morphogenetic protein-7 for bone tissue regeneration 
This study investigates the influence of the controlled release of bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP-7) from cross-linked chitosan microparticles on pre-osteoblasts (OB-6) in vitro. BMP-7 was incorporated into microparticles by encapsulation during the particle preparation and coating after particle preparation. Chitosan microparticles had an average diameter of 700 μm containing ~100 ng of BMP-7. The release study profile indicates that nearly 98% of the BMP-7 coated on the microparticles was released in a period of 18 days while only 36% of the BMP-7 encapsulated in the microparticles was released in the same time period. Cell attachment study indicated that the BMP-7 coated microparticles have many cells adhered on the microparticles in comparison with microparticles without growth factors on day 10. DNA assay indicated a statistical significant increase (p<0.05) in the amount of DNA obtained from BMP-7 encapsulated and coated microparticles in comparison with microparticles without any growth factors. A real time RT-PCR experiment was performed to determine the expression of a few osteoblast specific genes - Dlx5, runx2, osterix, osteopontin, osteocalcin, and bone sialoprotein. The results thus suggest that chitosan microparticles obtained by coacervation method are biocompatible and helps in improving the encapsulation efficiency of BMP-7. Also BMP-7 incorporated in the microparticles is being released in a controlled fashion to support attachment, proliferation and differentiation of pre-osteoblasts, thus acting as a good scaffold for bone tissue regeneration.
PMCID: PMC4121388  PMID: 24497318
BMP-7; chitosan; microparticles; controlled release; in vitro; osteoblasts
9.  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
10.  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
11.  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
12.  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
13.  Evaluation of the Effect of a Gamma Irradiated DBM-Pluronic F127 Composite on Bone Regeneration in Wistar Rat 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0125110.
Demineralized bone matrix (DBM) is widely used for bone regeneration. Since DBM is prepared in powder form its handling properties are not optimal and limit the clinical use of this material. Various synthetic and biological carriers have been used to enhance the DBM handling. In this study we evaluated the effect of gamma irradiation on the physical-chemical properties of Pluronic and on bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) amount in DBM samples. In vivo studies were carried out to investigate the effect on bone regeneration of a gamma irradiated DBM-Pluronic F127 (DBM-PF127) composite implanted in the femur of rats. Gamma irradiation effects (25 kGy) on physical-chemical properties of Pluronic F127 were investigated by rheological and infrared analysis. The BMP-2/BMP-7 amount after DBM irradiation was evaluated by ELISA. Bone regeneration capacity of DBM-PF127 containing 40% (w/w) of DBM was investigated in transcortical holes created in the femoral diaphysis of Wistar rat. Bone porosity, repaired bone volume and tissue organization were evaluated at 15, 30 and 90 days by Micro-CT and histological analysis. The results showed that gamma irradiation did not induce significant modification on physical-chemical properties of Pluronic, while a decrease in BMP-2/BMP-7 amount was evidenced in sterilized DBM. Micro-CT and histological evaluation at day 15 post-implantation revealed an interconnected trabeculae network in medullar cavity and cellular infiltration and vascularization of DBM-PF127 residue. In contrast a large rate of not connected trabeculae was observed in Pluronic filled and unfilled defects. At 30 and 90 days the DBM-PF127 samples shown comparable results in term of density and thickness of the new formed tissue respect to unfilled defect. In conclusion a gamma irradiated DBM-PF127 composite, although it may have undergone a significant decrease in the concentration of BMPs, was able to maintains bone regeneration capability.
PMCID: PMC4405568  PMID: 25897753
14.  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
15.  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
16.  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
17.  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
18.  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
19.  Osteogenic Responses to Zirconia with Hydroxyapatite Coating by Aerosol Deposition 
Journal of Dental Research  2015;94(3):491-499.
Previously, we found that osteogenic responses to zirconia co-doped with niobium oxide (Nb2O5) or tantalum oxide (Ta2O5) are comparable with responses to titanium, which is widely used as a dental implant material. The present study aimed to evaluate the in vitro osteogenic potential of hydroxyapatite (HA)-coated zirconia by an aerosol deposition method for improved osseointegration. Surface analysis by scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction proved that a thin as-deposited HA film on zirconia showed a shallow, regular, crater-like surface. Deposition of dense and uniform HA films was measured by SEM, and the contact angle test demonstrated improved wettability of the HA-coated surface. Confocal laser scanning microscopy indicated that MC3T3-E1 pre-osteoblast attachment did not differ notably between the titanium and zirconia surfaces; however, cells on the HA-coated zirconia exhibited a lower proliferation than those on the uncoated zirconia late in the culture. Nevertheless, ALP, alizarin red S staining, and bone marker gene expression analysis indicated good osteogenic responses on HA-coated zirconia. Our results suggest that HA-coating by aerosol deposition improves the quality of surface modification and is favorable to osteogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4814017  PMID: 25586588
implant dentistry; biomaterial(s); osteogenesis; surface chemistry; osseointegration; prosthetic dentistry
20.  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
21.  Surface Functionalization of Orthopedic Titanium Implants with Bone Sialoprotein 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(4):e0153978.
Orthopedic implant failure due to aseptic loosening and mechanical instability remains a major problem in total joint replacement. Improving osseointegration at the bone-implant interface may reduce micromotion and loosening. Bone sialoprotein (BSP) has been shown to enhance bone formation when coated onto titanium femoral implants and in rat calvarial defect models. However, the most appropriate method of BSP coating, the necessary level of BSP coating, and the effect of BSP coating on cell behavior remain largely unknown. In this study, BSP was covalently coupled to titanium surfaces via an aminosilane linker (APTES), and its properties were compared to BSP applied to titanium via physisorption and untreated titanium. Cell functions were examined using primary human osteoblasts (hOBs) and L929 mouse fibroblasts. Gene expression of specific bone turnover markers at the RNA level was detected at different intervals. Cell adhesion to titanium surfaces treated with BSP via physisorption was not significantly different from that of untreated titanium at any time point, whereas BSP application via covalent coupling caused reduced cell adhesion during the first few hours in culture. Cell migration was increased on titanium disks that were treated with higher concentrations of BSP solution, independent of the coating method. During the early phases of hOB proliferation, a suppressive effect of BSP was observed independent of its concentration, particularly when BSP was applied to the titanium surface via physisorption. Although alkaline phosphatase activity was reduced in the BSP-coated titanium groups after 4 days in culture, increased calcium deposition was observed after 21 days. In particular, the gene expression level of RUNX2 was upregulated by BSP. The increase in calcium deposition and the stimulation of cell differentiation induced by BSP highlight its potential as a surface modifier that could enhance the osseointegration of orthopedic implants. Both physisorption and covalent coupling of BSP are similarly effective, feasible methods, although a higher BSP concentration is recommended.
PMCID: PMC4844107  PMID: 27111551
22.  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
23.  Role of bone morphogenetic protein-2 in osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;12(3):4230-4237.
Bone mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) have been an area of interest in biomedical research and tissue engineering due to their diverse differentiation abilities. In osteogenesis, bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), particularly BMP-2, are important. However, the effect of BMP-2 on the osteogenetic capacity of BMSCs remains to be fully elucidated. In the present study, primary rat BMSCs were infected with a recombinant lentivirus carrying the BMP-2 gene (Lenti-BMP-2), and the effects of BMP-2 on the activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) on days 3, 7, 14 and 21, and on mineralization on day 21 were evaluated. In addition, the adhesive ability of BMP-2-overexpressed BMSCs was detected using an adhesion assay. Following forced expression of BMP-2 in the BMSCs, the levels of osteogenic genes, including osteopontin (OPN), osteocalcin (OC) and collagen type I (Col-I), were detected and the nuclear accumulation of Runt-related transcription factor (Runx)-2 and phosphorylated small mothers against decapentaplegic (p-Smad) 1/5/8 was also evaluated. The results demonstrated that the rat BMSCs had been isolated, cultured and passaged from Sprague-Dawley rat bone marrow successfully, and the third-generation BMSCs were identified using flow cytometry with CD29 staining. The osteogenetic phenotype of the BMSCs, expressing ALP and osteocalcin, was significantly induced by BMP-2, and the proliferation of the BMSCs was enhanced by BMP-2. Furthermore, the adhesive potential of the BMP-2-overexpressed BMSCs was increased, the expression levels of OPN, OCN and Col-Ie osteogenetic factors were upregulated and the nuclear accumulation of Runx-2 and p-Smads1/5/8 were increased significantly. These data suggested that BMP-2 may facilitate the osteogenetic differentiation of rat BMSCs and provide a favorable cell resource for tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC4526091  PMID: 26096280
bone morphogenetic protein-2; bone mesenchymal stem cells; osteogenesis; alkaline phosphatase; osteocalcin
24.  Aging impairs osteoblast differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells grown on titanium by favoring adipogenesis 
Journal of Applied Oral Science  2016;24(4):376-382.
Aging negatively affects bone/titanium implant interactions. Our hypothesis is that the unbalance between osteogenesis and adipogenesis induced by aging may be involved in this phenomenon.
We investigated the osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from young and aged rats cultured on Ti.
Material and Methods
Bone marrow MSCs derived from 1-month and 21-month rats were cultured on Ti discs under osteogenic conditions for periods of up to 21 days and osteoblast and adipocyte markers were evaluated.
Cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, extracellular matrix mineralization and gene expression of RUNX2, osterix, ALP, bone sialoprotein, osteopontin, and osteocalcin were reduced in cultures of 21-month rats compared with 1-month rats grown on Ti. Gene expression of PPAR-γ , adipocyte protein 2, and resistin and lipid accumulation were increased in cultures of 21-month rats compared with 1-month rats grown on the same conditions.
These results indicate that the lower osteogenic potential of MSCs derived from aged rats compared with young rats goes along with the higher adipogenic potential in cultures grown on Ti surface. This unbalance between osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation should be considered in dental implant therapy to the elderly population.
PMCID: PMC4990367  PMID: 27556209
Aging; Osteoblasts; Adipocytes; Stem cells; Dental implants; Titanium
25.  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

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