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1.  Similarity of Recombinant Human Perlecan Domain 1 by Alternative Expression Systems Bioactive Heterogenous Recombinant Human Perlecan D1 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:66.
Heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans are diverse components of certain proteoglycans and are known to interact with growth factors as a co-receptor necessary to induce signalling and growth factor activity. In this report we characterize heterogeneously glycosylated recombinant human perlecan domain 1 (HSPG2 abbreviated as rhPln.D1) synthesized in either HEK 293 cells or HUVECs by transient gene delivery using either adenoviral or expression plasmid technology.
By SDS-PAGE analysis following anion exchange chromatography, the recombinant proteoglycans appeared to possess glycosaminoglycan chains ranging, in total, from 6 kDa to >90 kDa per recombinant. Immunoblot analysis of enzyme-digested high Mr rhPln.D1 demonstrated that the rhPln.D1 was synthesized as either a chondroitin sulfate or heparan sulfate proteoglycan, in an approximately 2:1 ratio, with negligible hybrids. Secondary structure analysis suggested helices and sheets in both recombinant species. rhPln.D1 demonstrated binding to rhFGF-2 with an apparent kD of 2 ± 0.2 nM with almost complete susceptibility to digestion by heparinase III in ligand blot analysis but not to chondroitinase digestion. Additionally, we demonstrate HS-mediated binding of both rhPln.D1 species to several other GFs. Finally, we corroborate the augmentation of FGF-mediated cell activation by rhPln.D1 and demonstrate mitogenic signalling through the FGFR1c receptor.
With importance especially to the emerging field of DNA-based therapeutics, we have shown here that proteoglycan synthesis, in different cell lines where GAG profiles typically differ, can be directed by recombinant technology to produce populations of bioactive recombinants with highly similar GAG profiles.
PMCID: PMC2944331  PMID: 20828410
2.  Injectable Perlecan Domain 1-Hyaluronan Microgels Potentiate the Cartilage Repair Effect of BMP2 in a Murine Model of Early Osteoarthritis 
The goal of this study was to use bioengineered injectable microgels to enhance the action of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) and stimulate cartilage matrix repair in a reversible animal model of osteoarthritis (OA). A module of perlecan (PlnD1) bearing heparan sulfate (HS) chains was covalently immobilized to hyaluronic acid (HA) microgels for the controlled release of BMP2 in vivo. Articular cartilage damage was induced in mice using a reversible model of experimental OA and was treated by intra-articular injection of PlnD1-HA particles with BMP2 bound to HS. Control injections consisted of BMP2 free PlnD1-HA particles, HA particles, free BMP2 or saline. Knees dissected following these injections were analyzed using histological, immunostaining and gene expression approaches. Our results show that knees treated with PlnD1-HA/BMP2 had lesser OA-like damage compared to control knees. In addition, the PlnD1-HA/BMP2-treated knees had higher mRNA levels encoding for type II collagen, proteoglycans, and xylosyltransferase 1, a rate-limiting anabolic enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycan chains, relative to control knees (PlnD1-HA). This finding was paralleled by enhanced levels of aggrecan in the articular cartilage of PlnD1-HA/BMP2 treated knees. Additionally, decreases in the mRNA levels encoding for cartilage-degrading enzymes and type X collagen were seen relative to controls. In conclusion, PlnD1-HA microgels constitute a formulation improvement compared to HA for efficient in vivo delivery and stimulation of proteoglycan and cartilage matrix synthesis in mouse articular cartilage. Ultimately, PlnD1-HA/BMP2 may serve as an injectable therapeutic agent for slowing or inhibiting the onset of OA after knee injury.
PMCID: PMC3367563  PMID: 22455987
Perlecan; Hyaluronic Acid; Heparan Sulfate; Osteoarthritis; Cartilage Repair; Bone Morphogenetic Protein
3.  Intradiscal application of rhBMP-7 does not induce regeneration in a canine model of spontaneous intervertebral disc degeneration 
Strategies for biological repair and regeneration of the intervertebral disc (IVD) by cell and tissue engineering are promising, but few have made it into a clinical setting. Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 7 (rhBMP-7) has been shown to stimulate matrix production by IVD cells in vitro and in vivo in animal models of induced IVD degeneration. The aim of this study was to determine the most effective dose of an intradiscal injection of rhBMP-7 in a spontaneous canine IVD degeneration model for translation into clinical application for patients with low back pain.
Canine nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) were cultured with rhBMP-7 to assess the anabolic effect of rhBMP-7 in vitro, and samples were evaluated for glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and DNA content, histology, and matrix-related gene expression. Three different dosages of rhBMP-7 (2.5 μg, 25 μg, and 250 μg) were injected in vivo into early degenerated IVDs of canines, which were followed up for six months by magnetic resonance imaging (T2-weighted images, T1rho and T2 maps). Post-mortem, the effects of rhBMP-7 were determined by radiography, computed tomography, and macroscopy, and by histological, biochemical (GAG, DNA, and collagen), and biomolecular analyses of IVD tissue.
In vitro, rhBMP-7 stimulated matrix production of canine NPCs as GAG deposition was enhanced, DNA content was maintained, and gene expression levels of ACAN and COL2A1 were significantly upregulated. Despite the wide dose range of rhBMP-7 (2.5 to 250 μg) administered in vivo, no regenerative effects were observed at the IVD level. Instead, extensive extradiscal bone formation was noticed after intradiscal injection of 25 μg and 250 μg of rhBMP-7.
An intradiscal bolus injection of 2.5 μg, 25 μg, and 250 μg rhBMP-7 showed no regenerative effects in a spontaneous canine IVD degeneration model. In contrast, intradiscal injection of 250 μg rhBMP-7, and to a lesser extent 25 μg rhBMP-7, resulted in extensive extradiscal bone formation, indicating that a bolus injection of rhBMP-7 alone cannot be used for treatment of IVD degeneration in human or canine patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0625-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4443547  PMID: 26013758
4.  Perlecan Domain I Promotes Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 Delivery in Collagen I Fibril Scaffolds 
Tissue engineering  2005;11(1-2):76-89.
Perlecan, a heparan sulfate proteoglycan, is widely distributed in developing and adult tissues and plays multiple, important physiological roles. Studies with knockout mouse models indicate that expression of perlecan and heparan sulfate is critical for proper skeletal morphogenesis. Heparan sulfate chains bind and potentiate the activities of various growth factors such as fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2). Previous studies indicate that important biological activities are associated with the heparan sulfate-bearing domain I of perlecan (PlnDI; French et al. J. Bone Miner. Res. 17, 48, 2002). In the present study, we have used recombinant, glycosaminoglycan-bearing PlnDI to reconstitute three-dimensional scaffolds of collagen I. Collagen I fibrils bound PlnDI much better than native collagen I monomers or heat-denatured collagen I preparations. Heparitinase digestion demonstrated that recombinant PlnDI was substituted with heparan sulfate and that these heparan sulfate chains were critically important not only for efficient integration of PlnDI into scaffolds, but also for FGF-2 binding and retention. PlnDI-containing collagen I scaffolds to which FGF-2 was bound sustained growth of both MG63, an osteoblastic cell line, and human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) significantly better than scaffolds lacking either PlnDI or FGF-2. Collectively, these studies demonstrate the utility of PlnDI in creating scaffolds that better mimic natural extracellular matrices and better support key biological activities.
PMCID: PMC1635240  PMID: 15738663
5.  Sustained delivery of rhBMP-2 via PLGA microspheres: cranial bone regeneration without heterotopic ossification or craniosynostosis 
Commercially available recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP2) has demonstrated efficacy in bone regeneration, but not without significant side effects. In this study, we utilize rhBMP2 encapsulated in PLGA microspheres (PLGA-rhBMP2) placed in a rabbit cranial defect model to test whether low-dose, sustained, delivery can effectively induce bone regeneration.
rhBMP2 was encapsulated in 15% poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid), using a double emulsion, solvent extraction/evaporation technique, and its release kinetics and bioactivity were tested. Two critical-size defects (10mm) were created in the calvarium of New Zealand White rabbits (5-7 mos of age, M/F) and filled with a collagen scaffold containing one of four groups: 1) no implant, 2) collagen scaffold only, 3) PLGA-rhBMP2(0.1ug/implant), or 4) free rhBMP2 (0.1ug/implant). After 6 weeks, the rabbits were sacrificed and defects were analyzed by μCT, histology, and finite element analysis.
RhBMP2 delivered via bioactive PLGA microspheres resulted in higher volumes and surface area coverage of new bone than an equal dose of free rhBMP2 by μCT and histology (p=0.025, 0.025). FEA indicated that the mechanical competence using the regional elastic modulus did not differ with rhBMP2 exposure (p=0.70). PLGA-rhBMP2 did not demonstrate heterotopic ossification, craniosynostosis, or seroma formation.
Sustained delivery via PLGA microspheres can significantly reduce the rhBMP2 dose required for de novo bone formation. Optimization of the delivery system may be a key to reduce the risk for recently reported rhBMP2 related adverse effects.
Level of Evidence
Animal Study
PMCID: PMC4105220  PMID: 24622573
6.  Chondrogenic Differentiation on Perlecan Domain I, Collagen II and Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2-Based Matrices 
Tissue engineering  2006;12(7):2009-2024.
Extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules in cartilage, cooperate with growth factors to regulate chondrogenic differentiation and cartilage development. Domain I of perlecan (Pln) bears heparan sulfate chains that bind and release heparin binding growth factors (HBGFs). Our hypothesis was that Pln domain I (PlnDI) might be complexed with collagen II (P-C) fibrils to improve binding of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) and better support chondrogenesis and cartilage-like tissue formation in vitro. Our results showed that P-C fibrils bound more BMP-2 than collagen II fibrils alone, and better sustained BMP-2 release. Polylactic acid (PLA)-based scaffolds coated with P-C fibrils immobilized more BMP-2 than either PLA scaffolds or PLA scaffolds coated with collagen II fibrils alone. Multipotential mouse embryonic mesenchymal cells, C3H10T1/2, were cultured on two-dimensional P-C fibrils or three dimensional P-C/BMP-2-coasted (P-C-B) PLA scaffolds. Chondrogenic differentiation was indexed by glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production, and expression of the pro-chondrogenic transcription factor, Sox9, as well as cartilaginous ECM proteins, collagen II and aggrecan. Immunostaining for aggrecan, perlecan, tenascin and collagen X revealed that both C3H10T1/2 cells and primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts cultured on P-C-B fibrils showed the highest expression of chondrogenic markers among all treatment groups. Safranin O-Fast Green staining indicated that cartilage-like tissue was formed in the P-C-B scaffolds, while no obvious cartilage-like tissue formed in other scaffolds. We have concluded that P-C fibrils provide an improved biomimetic material for the binding and retention of BMP-2 and support chondrogenenic differentiation.
PMCID: PMC1774589  PMID: 16889529
Chondrogenesis; Perlecan; Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 (BMP-2); Collagen II; Mesenchymal Cells; Tissue Engineering
7.  Minimally traumatic alveolar ridge augmentation with a tunnel injectable thermo-sensitive alginate scaffold 
Journal of Applied Oral Science  2015;23(2):215-223.
Injectable bone substitutes and techniques have been developed for use in minimally invasive procedures for bone augmentation.
: To develop a novel injectable thermo-sensitive alginate hydrogel (TSAH) as a scaffold to induce bone regeneration, using a minimally invasive tunnelling technique.
Material and Methods
: An injectable TSAH was prepared from a copolymer solution of 8.0 wt% Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) and 8.0 wt% AAlg-g-PNIPAAm. In vitro properties of the material, such as its microstructure and the sustained release of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), were investigated. Then, with the subperiosteal tunnelling technique, this material, carrying rhBMP-2, was injected under the labial periosteum of the maxillary anterior alveolar ridge in a rabbit model. New bone formation was evaluated by means of X-ray, micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), fluorescence labelling, histological study, and immunohistochemistry study.
: The material exhibited good injectability and thermo-irreversible properties. SEM showed an interconnected porous microstructure of the TSAH. The result of ALP activity indicated sustained delivery of BMP-2 from the TSAH from days 3 to 15. In a rabbit model, both TSAH and TSAH/rhBMP-2 induced alveolar ridge augmentation. The percentage of mineralised tissue in the TSAH/rhBMP-2 group (41.6±3.79%) was significantly higher than in the TSAH group (31.3±7.21%; p<0.05). The density of the regenerating tissue was higher in the TSAH/rhBMP-2 group than in the other groups (TSAH group, positive control, blank control; p<0.05).
: The TSAH provided convenient handling properties for clinical application. To some extent, TSAH could induce ridge augmentation and mineral deposition, which can be enhanced when combined with rhBMP-2 for a minimally invasive tunnelling injection.
PMCID: PMC4428467  PMID: 26018314
Alveolar ridge augmentation; Minimally invasive surgical procedures; Hydrogel; Tissue engineering
8.  Perlecan-Stimulated Nodules Undergo Chondrogenic Maturation in Response to rhBMP-2 Treatment In Vitro 
Connective tissue research  2003;44(Suppl 1):196-201.
The heparan sulfate proteoglycan, perlecan, is localized to hypertrophic chondrocytes in the growth plates of long bones. Mice mutants for perlecan display severe cartilage and skeletal defects. Previously, we demonstrated that C3H10T1/2 fibroblasts cultured on perlecan stimulated extensive formation of dense nodules reminiscent of embryonic cartilaginous condensations. These nodules stain intensely with Alcian blue, and antibodies specific for collagen type II and aggrecan; however, nodules do not express collagen type X, a marker of chondrogenic maturation. In this investigation, we tested the hypothesis that addition of rhBMP-2 to perlecan-induced nodules would promote chondrogenic maturation in vitro. C3H10T1/2 fibroblasts were seeded in Lab-Tek® chambered “Permanox” slides uncoated or coated with perlecan (B&D, 5 μg/well), at a density of 2 × 105 cells/well. The cells were maintained in CMRL-1066 media supplemented with ascorbic acid, citrate, and pyruvate (50 ng/ml). C3H10T1/2 fibroblasts seeded on perlecan-coated wells began to condense and form cell aggregates within 15 min. On the third day postplating, the media was replaced and supplemented with or without rhBMP-2 (50 ng/ml, Genetics Institute®). On day 6 of culture, microscopy revealed that rhBMP-2–treated cultures had significantly proliferated; however, untreated cultures had not. By day 12 of culture, confocal microscopy revealed that perlecan-stimulated nodules treated with rhBMP-2 express a late stage marker of chondrogenesis (collagen type X). Morphologically, cells expressing collagen type X in rhBMP-2–treated nodules appear larger in diameter, relative to cells not expressing collagen type X. Cells cultured on plastic and treated with rhBMP-2 did not form nodules, but attached and spread, yielding a high-density monolayer. In response to rhBMP-2 treatment, these cells also express collagen type X. However, the appearance of collagen type X occurs at a later time point relative to the appearance of collagen type X in perlecan-stimulated nodules. Thus, perlecan-stimulated nodules do mature at a faster rate when treated with rhBMP-2 relative to monolayer cells.
PMCID: PMC1387051  PMID: 12952197
Cartilage; Chondrogenesis; Perlecan; Proteoglycan; rhBMP-2
9.  Tunable dual growth factor delivery from polyelectrolyte multilayer films 
Biomaterials  2011;32(26):6183-6193.
A promising strategy to accelerate joint implant integration and reduce recovery time and failure rates is to deliver a combination of certain growth factors to the integration site. There is a need to control the quantity of growth factors delivered at different times during the healing process to maximize efficacy. Polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) films, built using the layer-by-layer (LbL) technique, are attractive for releasing controlled amounts of potent growth factors over a sustained period. Here, we present PEM films that sequester physiological amounts of osteogenic rhBMP-2 (recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein - 2) and angiogenic rhVEGF165 (recombinant human vascular endothelial growth factor) in different ratios in a degradable [poly(β-amino ester)/polyanion/growth factor/ polyanion] LbL tetralayer repeat architecture where the biologic load scaled linearly with the number of tetralayers. No burst release of either growth factor was observed as the films degraded. The release of rhBMP-2 was sustained over a period of 2 weeks, while rhVEGF165 eluted from the film over the first 8 days. Both growth factors retained their efficacy, as quantified with relevant in vitro assays. rhBMP-2 initiated a dose dependent differentiation cascade in MC3T3-E1S4 pre-osteoblasts while rhVEGF165 upregulated HUVEC proliferation, and accelerated closure of a scratch in HUVEC cell cultures in a dose dependent manner. In vivo, the mineral density of ectopic bone formed de novo by rhBMP-2/rhVEGF165 PEM films was approximately 33% higher than when only rhBMP-2 was introduced, with a higher trabecular thickness, which would indicate a decrease in the risk of osteoporotic fracture. Bone formed throughout the scaffold when both growth factors were released, which suggests more complete remodeling due to an increased local vascular network. This study demonstrates a promising approach to delivering precise doses of multiple growth factors for a variety of implant applications where control over spatial and temporal release profile of the biologic is desired.
PMCID: PMC3202614  PMID: 21645919
Controlled drug release; BMP; VEGF; bone; hip replacement prosthesis; layer-by-layer; polyelectrolyte multilayer; dose response
10.  Ribozyme-Mediated Perlecan Knockdown Impairs Chondrogenic Differentiation of C3H10T1/2 Fibroblasts 
Perlecan (Pln) is an abundant heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycan in the pericellular matrix of developing cartilage, and its absence dramatically disrupts endochondral bone formation. This study examined two previously unexamined aspects of the function of Pln in mesenchymal chondrogenesis in vitro. Using the well established high density micromass model of chondrogenic differentiation, we first examined the requirement for endogenous Pln synthesis and secretion through the use of Pln-targeted ribozymes in murine C3H10T1/2 embryonic fibroblasts. Second, we examined the ability of the unique N-terminal, HS-bearing Pln domain I (PlnDI) to synergize with exogenous bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) to support later stage chondrogenic maturation of cellular condensations. The results provide clear evidence that the function of Pln in late stage chondrogenesis requires Pln biosynthesis and secretion, because 60-70% reductions in Pln greatly diminish chondrogenic marker expression in micromass culture. Additionally, these data support the idea that while early chondrocyte differentiation can be supported by exogenous HS-decorated PlnDI, efficient late stage PlnDI supported chondrogenesis requires both BMP-2 and Pln biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC1403289  PMID: 16466400
perlecan; chondrogenesis; BMP-2; cartilage; heparan sulfate proteoglycan
11.  Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 stimulates osteoblastic maturation and inhibits myogenic differentiation in vitro 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1991;113(3):681-687.
The in vitro effect of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) on osteogenic and myogenic differentiation was examined in two clonal cell lines of rat osteoblast-like cells at different differentiation stages, ROB-C26 (C26) and ROB-C20 (C20). The C26 is a potential osteoblast precursor cell line that is also capable of differentiating into muscle cells and adipocytes; the C20 is a more differentiated osteoblastic cell line. Proliferation was stimulated by rhBMP-2 in C26 cells, but inhibited in C20 cells. rhBMP-2 greatly increased alkaline phosphate (ALP) activity in C26 cells, but not in C20 cells. The steady-state level of ALP mRNA was also increased by rhBMP-2 in C26 cells, but not in C20 cells. Production of 3',5'-cAMP in response to parathyroid hormone (PTH) was dose-dependently enhanced by adding rhBMP-2 in both C26 and C20 cells, though the stimulatory effect was much greater in the former. There was neither basal expression of osteocalcin mRNA nor its protein synthesis in C26 cells, but they were strikingly induced by rhBMP-2 in the presence of 1 alpha,25- dihydroxyvitamin D3. rhBMP-2 induced no appreciable changes in procollagen mRNA levels of type I and type III in the two cell lines. Differentiation of C26 cells into myotubes was greatly inhibited by adding rhBMP-2. The inhibitory effect of rhBMP-2 on myogenic differentiation was also observed in clonal rat skeletal myoblasts (L6). Like BMP-2, TGF-beta 1 inhibited myogenic differentiation. However, unlike BMP-2, TGF-beta 1 decreased ALP activity in both C26 and C20 cells. TGF-beta 1 induced neither PTH responsiveness nor osteocalcin production in C26 cells, but it increased PTH responsiveness in C20 cells. These results clearly indicate that rhBMP- 2 is involved, at least in vitro, not only in inducing differentiation of osteoblast precursor cells into more mature osteoblast-like cells, but also in inhibiting myogenic differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2288971  PMID: 1849907
12.  Three-Dimensional Printing of rhBMP-2-Loaded Scaffolds with Long-Term Delivery for Enhanced Bone Regeneration in a Rabbit Diaphyseal Defect 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2014;20(13-14):1980-1992.
In this study, recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) delivery system with slow mode was successfully developed in three-dimensional (3D) printing-based polycaprolactone (PCL)/poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds for bone formation of critical-sized rabbit segmental diaphyseal defect. To control the delivery of the rhBMP-2, collagen (for long-term delivery up to 28 days) and gelatin (for shor-term delivery within a week) solutions encapsulating rhBMP-2 were dispensed into a hollow cylinderical type of PCL/PLGA scaffold. An effective dose of 5μg/mL was determined by measuring the alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin gene expression levels of human nasal inferior turbinate-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hTMSCs) seeded on the PCL/PLGA/collagen scaffold in vitro. However, it was found that a burst release of rhBMP-2 from the PCL/PLGA/gelatin scaffold did not induce the osteogenic differentiation of hTMSCs in vitro at an equivalent dose. In the in vivo animal experiements, microcomputed tomography and histological analyses confirmed that PCL/PLGA/collagen/rhBMP-2 scaffolds (long-term delivery mode) showed the best bone healing quality at both weeks 4 and 8 after implantation without inflammatory response. On the other hand, a large number of macrophages indicating severe inflammation provoked by burst release of rhBMP-2 were observed in the vicinity of PCL/PLGA/gelatin/rhBMP-2 (short-term delivery mode) at week 4.
PMCID: PMC4086523  PMID: 24517081
13.  Chondrogenic Activity of the Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan Perlecan Maps to the N-terminal Domain I 
C3H10T1/2 cells differentiate along a chondrogenic pathway when plated onto the extracellular matrix (ECM) protein perlecan (Pln). To identify the region(s) within the large Pln molecule that provides a differentiation signal, recombinant Pln-sequence-based polypeptides representing distinct structural domains were assayed for their ability to promote chondrogenesis in C3H10T1/2 cells. Five distinct domains, along with structural variations, were tested. The N-terminal domain I was tested in two forms (IA and IB) that contain only heparan sulfate (HS) chains or both HS and chondroitin sulfate (CS) chains, respectively. A mutant form of domain I lacking attachment sites for both HS and CS (Pln Imut) was tested also. Other constructs consecutively designated Pln domains II, III(A-C), IV(A,B), and V(A,B) were used to complete the structure-function analysis. Cells plated onto Pln IA or Pln IB but no other domain rapidly assembled into cellular aggregates of 40-120 μm on average. Aggregate formation was dependent on the presence of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains, because Pln I-based polypeptides lacking GAG chains either by enzymatic removal or mutation of HS/CS attachment sites were inactive. Aggregates formed on GAG-bearing Pln IA stained with Alcian Blue and were recognized by antibodies to collagen type II and aggrecan but were not recognized by an antibody to collagen type X, a marker of chondrocyte hypertrophy. Collectively, these studies indicate that the GAG-bearing domain I of Pln provides a sufficient signal to trigger C3H10T1/2 cells to enter a chondrogenic differentiation pathway. Thus, this matrix proteoglycan (PG) found at sites of cartilage formation in vivo is likely to enhance early stage differentiation induced by soluble chondrogenic factors.
PMCID: PMC1774590  PMID: 11771669
perlecan; cartilage; chondrogenesis; proteoglycan
14.  The enhancement of osteogenesis by nano-fibrous scaffolds incorporating rhBMP-7 nanospheres 
Biomaterials  2007;28(12):2087-2096.
It is advantageous to incorporate controlled growth factor delivery into tissue engineering strategies. The objective of this study was to develop a three-dimensional (3D) porous tissue engineering scaffold with the capability of controlled releasing recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-7 (rhBMP-7) for enhancement of bone regeneration. RhBMP-7 was first encapsulated into poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanospheres (NS) with an average diameter of 300 nm. Poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) scaffolds with interconnected macroporous and nano-fibrous architectures were prepared using a combined sugar sphere template leaching and phase separation technique. A post-seeding technique was then utilized to immobilize rhBMP-7 containing PLGA nanospheres onto prefabricated nano-fibrous PLLA scaffolds with well maintained 3D structures. In vitro release kinetics indicated that nanosphere immobilized scaffold (NS-scaffold) could release rhBMP-7 in a temporally controlled manner, depending on the chemical and degradation properties of the nanospheres which were immobilized onto the scaffold. In vivo, rhBMP-7 delivered from NS-scaffolds induced significant ectopic bone formation throughout the scaffold while passive adsorption of rhBMP-7 into the scaffold resulted in failure of bone induction due to either the loss of rhBMP-7 biological function or insufficient duration within the scaffold. We conclude that the interconnected macroporous architecture and the sustained, prolonged delivery of bioactive rhBMP-7 from NS immobilized nano-fibrous scaffolds actively induced new bone formation throughout the scaffold. The approach offers a new delivery method of BMPs and a novel scaffold design for bone regeneration.
PMCID: PMC2048538  PMID: 17239946
15.  Synergistic effect of recombinant human bone morphogenic protein-7 and osteogenic differentiation medium on human bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in vitro 
International Orthopaedics  2011;35(12):1889-1895.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-7 (rhBMP-7) with or without osteogenic differentiation medium (ODM) on osteogenic differentiation of primary human bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) in vitro.
The hBMSCs were isolated from medullary reaming tissue. At 80% confluence, hBMSCs were treated with different concentrations of rhBMP-7 with and without ODM. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, calcium deposition and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of osteocalcin (OC) and osteopontin (OPN) were examined.
ALP activity and calcium deposits in hBMSC culture were significantly increased by rhBMP-7 at 0.1 μg/ml (0.23 ± 0.07 IU and 28.9 ± 4.2 mg/dl) and 1.0 μg/ml (0.32 ± 0.03 IU and 38.7 ± 3.0 mg/dl), respectively, in the presence of ODM, showing a clearly dose-dependent osteoblastic differentiation. However, the same dose of 0.1 μg/ml rhBMP-7 without ODM and ODM alone induced low level of ALP and calcium deposits, indicating a synergistic effect of rhBMP-7 and ODM on committed osteogenic differentiation. Quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis showed up-regulated OC and OPN mRNA levels, corroborating the synergistic effect of rhBMP-7 and ODM.
Our study showed that rhBMP-7 with ODM created a synergistic effect on up-regulation of osteogenic genes as well as osteogenic differentiation of primary hBMSCs in vitro. In the presence of ODM, the lowest concentration of rhBMP-7 needed to induce significant osteogenic differentiation of hBMSCs was 0.1 μg/ml.
PMCID: PMC3224605  PMID: 21487672
16.  Soluble perlecan domain i enhances vascular endothelial growth factor-165 activity and receptor phosphorylation in human bone marrow endothelial cells 
BMC Biochemistry  2010;11:43.
Immobilized recombinant perlecan domain I (PlnDI) binds and modulates the activity of heparin-binding growth factors, in vitro. However, activities for PlnDI, in solution, have not been reported. In this study, we assessed the ability of soluble forms to modulate vascular endothelial growth factor-165 (VEGF165) enhanced capillary tube-like formation, and VEGF receptor-2 phosphorylation of human bone marrow endothelial cells, in vitro.
In solution, PlnDI binds VEGF165 in a heparan sulfate and pH dependent manner. Capillary tube-like formation is enhanced by exogenous PlnDI; however, PlnDI/VEGF165 mixtures combine to enhance formation beyond that stimulated by either PlnDI or VEGF165 alone. PlnDI also stimulates VEGF receptor-2 phosphorylation, and mixtures of PlnDI/VEGF165 reduce the time required for peak VEGF receptor-2 phosphorylation (Tyr-951), and increase Akt phosphorylation. PlnDI binds both immobilized neuropilin-1 and VEGF receptor-2, but has a greater affinity for neuropilin-1. PlnDI binding to neuropilin-1, but not to VEGF receptor-2 is dependent upon the heparan sulfate chains adorning PlnDI. Interestingly, the presence of VEGF165 but not VEGF121 significantly enhances PlnDI binding to Neuropilin-1 and VEGF receptor-2.
Our observations suggest soluble forms of PlnDI are biologically active. Moreover, PlnDI heparan sulfate chains alone or together with VEGF165 can enhance VEGFR-2 signaling and angiogenic events, in vitro. We propose PlnDI liberated during basement membrane or extracellular matrix turnover may have similar activities, in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2987766  PMID: 21047416
17.  Quinoline Compound KM11073 Enhances BMP-2-Dependent Osteogenic Differentiation of C2C12 Cells via Activation of p38 Signaling and Exhibits In Vivo Bone Forming Activity 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120150.
Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP)-2 has been approved by the FDA for clinical application, but its use is limited due to high cost and a supra-physiological dose for therapeutic efficacy. Therefore, recent studies have focused on the generation of new therapeutic small molecules to induce bone formation or potentiate the osteogenic activity of BMP-2. Here, we show that [4-(7-chloroquinolin-4-yl) piperazino][1-phenyl-5-(trifluoromethyl)-1H-pyrazol-4-yl]methanone (KM11073) strongly enhances the BMP-2-stimulated induction of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), an early phase biomarker of osteoblast differentiation, in bi-potential mesenchymal progenitor C2C12 cells. The KM11073-mediated ALP induction was inhibited by the BMP antagonist noggin, suggesting that its osteogenic activity occurs via BMP signaling. In addition, a pharmacological inhibition study suggested the involvement of p38 activation in the osteogenic action of KM11073 accompanied by enhanced expression of BMP-2, -6, and -7 mRNA. Furthermore, the in vivo osteogenic activity of KM11073 was confirmed in zebrafish and mouse calvarial bone formation models, suggesting the possibility of its single use for bone formation. In conclusion, the combination of rhBMP-2 with osteogenic small molecules could reduce the use of expensive rhBMP-2, mitigating the undesirable side effects of its supra-physiological dose for therapeutic efficacy. Moreover, due to their inherent physical properties, small molecules could represent the next generation of regenerative medicine.
PMCID: PMC4366212  PMID: 25789987
18.  In vitro evaluation of rhBMP-2-induced expression of VEGF in human adipose-derived stromal cells 
Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2 (BMP-2) plays a key role in skeletal development, repair and regeneration. Our previous studies indicate that recombinant human BMP-2 (rhBMP-2) can stimulate osteogenic differentiation and promote angiogenesis through the up-regulation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), while the underlying mechanism of the BMP-2 effect on human cells is not well understood. To gain a better understanding of BMP-2-induced angiogenesis, we further characterized the effect of rhBMP-2 on VEGF expression in human adipose-derived stromal cells (hASCs) by RT-PCR and ELISA. VEGF expression was induced by rhBMP-2 in a dose- and time-dependent manner, with the highest induction observed using 100 ng/ml of rhBMP-2 at 18-24 h post stimulation. In addition, Western blot analyses revealed that the phosphorylation of p38 was closely related to the expression of VEGF, and blocking the p38MAPK pathway with the specific inhibitor sb203580 resulted in the decreased VEGF expression. Our data suggest that p38 activation may be required for rhBMP-2-induced VEGF expression and angiogenesis. Information derived from this study may shed light on understanding the effect of rhBMP-2 in the angiogenesis of hASCs, which is important for designing new strategies to increase the angiogenesis of tissue engineering bone.
PMCID: PMC4358446  PMID: 25784991
rhBMP-2; hASC; VEGF; angiogenesis; p38MAPK; tissue engineering bone
19.  BMP-2 vs. BMP-4 expression and activity in glucocorticoid-arrested MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts: Smad signaling, not alkaline phosphatase activity, predicts rescue of mineralization 
Pharmacological glucocorticoids (GCs) inhibit bone formation, leading to osteoporosis. GCs inhibit bone morphogenetic protein-2 (Bmp2) expression, and rhBMP-2 restores mineralization in GC-arrested osteoblast cultures. To better understand how GCs regulate BMPs, we investigated Bmp transcription, as well as rhBMP-induced Smad and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. Bmp2 cis-regulatory regions were analyzed by reporter plasmids and LacZ-containing bacterial artificial chromosomes. We found that GCs inhibited Bmp2 via a domain >50 kb downstream of the coding sequence. Bmp expression was evaluated by RT-PCR; whereas GCs strongly inhibited Bmp2, Bmp4 was abundantly expressed and resistant to GCs. Both rhBMP-2 and rhBMP-4 restored mineralization in GC-arrested cultures; rhBMP-2 was 5-fold more effective when dosing was based on ALP activation, however, the rhBMPs were equipotent when dosing was based on Smad transactivation. In conclusion, GCs regulate Bmp2 via a far-downstream domain, and activation of Smad, not ALP, best predicts the pro-mineralization potential of rhBMPs.
PMCID: PMC3760374  PMID: 19021035
Osteoblast; BMP; Smad; alkaline phosphatase; glucocorticoids
20.  Autogenous Regulation of a Network of Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) Mediates the Osteogenic Differentiation in Murine Marrow Stromal Cells 
Bone  2007;40(5):1389-1398.
The expression patterns of (bone morphogenetic proteins) BMPs during fracture repair and pre-natal bone development suggests that these processes are regulated through the coordinated actions of multiple BMPs. Murine bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) in culture provide a well recognized ex vivo system of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation in which the effects of BMPs can be examined. Studies were performed to determine if MSC differentiation is dependent on the endogenous expression of multiple BMPs and to characterize their interactions. MSCs were harvested from the bone marrow of tibiae and femora of 8 to 10 week old male C57/B6 mice and prepared by standard methods. Osteogenic differentiation was assessed by histological assays, alkaline phosphatase enzyme activity and assays for the expression of multiple mRNAs for BMPs and osteogenic development. The role of autogenously expressed BMPs in controlling the osteogenic differentiation of marrow stromal cells in vitro was assessed in both gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments. Gain of function experiments were carried out in the presence of exogenously added BMP-2 or 7 and loss of function experiments were carried out by BMP antagonism with noggin and BMP-2 antibody blockade. Osteogenic differentiation was concurrent with and proportional to increases in the expression of BMPs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8A. BMP antagonism with either noggin or BMP-2 antibody blockade inhibited osteogenic differentiation by 50% to 80% respectively and reduced the expression of endogenous levels of BMPs 2, 3, 5, and 8A. In contrast, antagonism induced the expression of BMP-4 and 6. The addition of rhBMP-2 or 7 enhanced osteogenic differentiation and produced a reciprocal expression profile in the endogenous BMPs expression as compared to BMP antagonism. BMP antagonism could be rescued through the competitive addition of rhBMP-2. These studies demonstrated that osteogenic differentiation was regulated by a complex network of multiple BMPs that showed selective increased and decreased expression during differentiation. They further demonstrated that BMP-2 was a central regulator in this network.
PMCID: PMC2681090  PMID: 17303481
Marrow Stromal Stem Cells; Bone Morphogenetic Proteins; BMP; Osteoinduction; Noggin
21.  Expression of the Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan, Perlecan, during Mouse Embryogenesis and Perlecan Chondrogenic Activity In Vitro  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;145(5):1103-1115.
Expression of the basement membrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG), perlecan (Pln), mRNA, and protein has been examined during murine development. Both Pln mRNA and protein are highly expressed in cartilaginous regions of developing mouse embryos, but not in areas of membranous bone formation. Initially detected at low levels in precartilaginous areas of d 12.5 embryos, Pln protein accumulates in these regions through d 15.5 at which time high levels are detected in the cartilage primordia. Laminin and collagen type IV, other basal lamina proteins commonly found colocalized with Pln, are absent from the cartilage primordia. Accumulation of Pln mRNA, detected by in situ hybridization, was increased in d 14.5 embryos. Cartilage primordia expression decreased to levels similar to that of the surrounding tissue at d 15.5. Pln accumulation in developing cartilage is preceded by that of collagen type II. To gain insight into Pln function in chondrogenesis, an assay was developed to assess the potential inductive activity of Pln using multipotential 10T1/2 murine embryonic fibroblast cells. Culture on Pln, but not on a variety of other matrices, stimulated extensive formation of dense nodules reminiscent of embryonic cartilaginous condensations. These nodules stained intensely with Alcian blue and collagen type II antibodies. mRNA encoding chondrocyte markers including collagen type II, aggrecan, and Pln was elevated in 10T1/2 cells cultured on Pln. Human chondrocytes that otherwise rapidly dedifferentiate during in vitro culture also formed nodules and expressed high levels of chondrocytic marker proteins when cultured on Pln. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that Pln is not only a marker of chondrogenesis, but also strongly potentiates chondrogenic differentiation in vitro.
PMCID: PMC2133131  PMID: 10352025
heparan sulfate proteoglycan; perlecan; chondrogenesis
22.  Enhanced in vivo osteogenesis by nanocarrier-fused bone morphogenetic protein-4 
Bone defects and nonunions are major clinical skeletal problems. Growth factors are commonly used to promote bone regeneration; however, the clinical impact is limited because the factors do not last long at a given site. The introduction of tissue engineering aimed to deter the diffusion of these factors is a promising therapeutic strategy. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the in vivo osteogenic capability of an engineered bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP4) fusion protein.
BMP4 was fused with a nanosized carrier, collagen-binding domain (CBD), derived from fibronectin. The stability of the CBD-BMP4 fusion protein was examined in vitro and in vivo. Osteogenic effects of CBD-BMP4 were evaluated by computer tomography after intramedullary injection without a collagen–sponge scaffold. Recombinant BMP-4, CBD, or vehicle were used as controls. Expressions of bone-related genes and growth factors were compared among the groups. Osteogenesis induced by CBD-BMP4, BMP4, and CBD was also assessed in a bone-defect model.
In vitro, CBD-BMP4 was retained in a collagen gel for at least 7 days while BMP4 alone was released within 3 hours. In vivo, CBD-BMP4 remained at the given site for at least 2 weeks, both with or without a collagen–sponge scaffold, while BMP4 disappeared from the site within 3 days after injection. CBD-BMP4 induced better bone formation than BMP4 did alone, CBD alone, and vehicle after the intramedullary injection into the mouse femur. Bone-related genes and growth factors were expressed at higher levels in CBD-BMP4-treated mice than in all other groups, including BMP4-treated mice. Finally, CBD-BMP4 potentiated more bone formation than did controls, including BMP4 alone, when applied to cranial bone defects without a collagen scaffold.
Altogether, nanocarrier-CBD enhanced the retention of BMP4 in the bone, thereby promoting augmented osteogenic responses in the absence of a scaffold. These results suggest that CBD-BMP4 may be clinically useful in facilitating bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3626372  PMID: 23630418
BMP4; bone repair; bone tissue engineering; osteogenesis
23.  Perlecan: an important component of the cartilage pericellular matrix 
Perlecan (Pln) is a large proteoglycan that can bear HS (heparan sulfate) and chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans. Previous studies have demonstrated that Pln can interact with growth factors and cell surfaces either via its constituent glycosaminoglycan chains or core protein. Herein, we summarize studies demonstrating spatially and temporally regulated expression of Pln mRNA and protein in developing and mature cartilage. Mutations either in the Pln gene or in genes involved in glycosaminoglycan assembly result in severe cartilage phenotypes seen in both human syndromes and mouse model systems. In vitro studies demonstrate that Pln can trigger chondrogenic differentiation of multipotential mouse CH310T1/2 stem cells as well as maintain the phenotype of adult human chondrocytes. Structural mapping indicates that these activities lie entirely within domain I, a region unique to Pln, and that they require glycosaminoglycans. We also discuss data indicating that Pln cooperates with the key chondrogenic growth factor, BMP-2, to promote expression of hypertrophic chondrocyte markers. Collectively, these studies indicate that Pln is an important component of human cartilage and may have useful applications in tissue engineering and cartilage-directed therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC1387052  PMID: 15758379
Perlecan; Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan; Extracellular Matrix; Cartilage; Mouse
24.  Enhanced Control of In Vivo Bone Formation with Surface Functionalized Alginate Microbeads Incorporating Heparin and Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2012;19(3-4):350-359.
In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a surface functionalization delivery platform incorporating heparin onto strontium alginate microbeads surfaces would convert this “naive carriers” into “mini-reservoirs” for localized in vivo delivery of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) that will induce functional bone regeneration. In vitro evaluation confirmed that (1) heparin incorporation could immobilize and prolong rhBMP-2 release for approximately 3 weeks; (2) a significant decrease (p<0.01) in rhBMP-2 burst release is attainable depending on initial protein load; and (3) rhBMP-2 released from surface functionalized microbeads retained bioactivity and stimulated higher alkaline phosphatase activity in cultured C2C12 cells when compared with daily administration of fresh bolus rhBMP-2. Subsequently, surface functionalized microbeads were used for in vivo delivery of rhBMP-2 at local sites of posterolateral spinal fusion surgery in rats. The microbeads were loaded into the pores of medical-grade polyepsilone caprolactone-tricalcium phosphate scaffolds before implantation. Results revealed robust bone formation and a biomechanically solid fusion after 6 weeks. When compared with a control group consisting of an equivalent amount of rhBMP-2 that was directly adsorbed onto bare-surfaced microbeads with no heparin, a 5.3-fold increase in bone volume fraction and a 2.6-fold increase in bending stiffness (flexion/extension) were observed. When compared with collagen sponge carriers of rhBMP-2, a 1.5-fold and a 1.3-fold increase in bone volume fraction and bending stiffness were observed, respectively. More importantly, 3D micro-computed tomography images enabled the visualization of a well-contained newly formed bone at ipsilateral implant sites with surface functionalized rhBMP-2 delivery. This was absent with collagen sponge carriers where newly formed bone tissue was poorly contained and crossed over the posterior midline to contralateral implants. These findings are important because of complications with current rhBMP-2 delivery method, including excessive, uncontrolled bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3542875  PMID: 22894570
25.  BMP-Silk Composite Matrices Heal Critically Sized Femoral Defects 
Bone  2007;41(2):247-255.
Clinical drawbacks of bone grafting prompt the search for alternative bone augmentation technologies such as use of growth and differentiation factors, gene therapy, and cell therapy. Osteopromotive matrices are frequently employed for the local delivery and controlled release of these augmentation agents. Some matrices also provide an osteoconductive scaffold to support new bone growth. In this study, silkworm-derived silk fibroin was evaluated as an osteoconductive matrix for healing critical sized mid-femoral segmental defects in nude rats. Four treatment groups were assessed over eight weeks: Silk scaffolds (SS) with recombinant human BMP-2 (rhBMP-2) and human mesenchymal stem cells (HMSC) that had been pre-differentiated along an osteoblastic lineage ex vivo (Group I; pdHMSC/rhBMP-2/SS); SS with rhBMP-2 and undifferentiated HMSCs (Group II; udHMSC/rhBMP-2/SS); SS and rhBMP-2 alone (Group III; rhBMP-2/SS); and empty defects (Group IV). Bi-weekly radiographs revealed a progressive and similar increase in Group I–III mean defect mineralization through post-operative week (POW) 8. Radiographs, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and micro-computed tomography confirmed that Groups I–III exhibited similar substantial and significantly (p<0.05) greater defect mineralization at POW 8 than the unfilled Group IV defects which remained void of bone. No significant differences in Groups I–III defect healing at POW 8 were apparent using these same assays or mechanical testing. Histology at POW 8 revealed moderately good bridging of the parent diaphyseal cortices with woven and lamellar bone bridging islands of silk matrix in Groups I and III. Group II defects possessed comparatively less new bone which was most abundant adjacent to the parent bone margins. Elsewhere the silk matrix was more often enveloped by poorly differentiated loose fibrous connective tissue. Group IV defects showed minimal new bone formation. None of the treatment groups attained the mean mineralization or the mean biomechanical strength of identical defects implanted with SS and pdHMSCs alone in a previous study. However, addition of rhBMP-2 to SS prompted more bone than was previously generated using udHMSC/SS or SS alone. These data imply the clinical potential of silk scaffolds and rhBMP-2 as composite osteopromotive implants when used alone or with select stem cell populations. Additional studies in larger species are now warranted.
PMCID: PMC2695963  PMID: 17553763
bone healing; silk implant; bone morphogenetic protein; human mesenchymal stem cells; tissue engineering; long bone defect

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