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1.  The role of phospholipase D in osteoblast response to titanium surface microstructure 
Biomaterial surface properties such as microtopography and energy can change cellular responses at the cell-implant interface. Phospholipase D (PLD) is required for the differentiation of osteoblast-like MG63 cells on machined and grit-blasted titanium surfaces. Here, we determined if PLD is also required on microstructured/high-energy substrates and the mechanism involved. shRNAs for human PLD1 and PLD2 were used to silence MG63 cells. Wild-type and PLD1 or PLD1/2 silenced cells were cultured on smooth-pretreatment surfaces (PT); grit-blasted, acid-etched surfaces (SLA); and SLA surfaces modified to have higher surface energy (modSLA). PLD was inhibited with ethanol or activated with 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D3 [24R,25(OH)2D3]. As surface roughness/energy increased, PLD mRNA and activity increased, cell number decreased, osteocalcin and osteoprotegerin increased, and protein kinase C (PKC) and alkaline phosphatase specific activities increased. Ethanol inhibited PLD and reduced surface effects on these parameters. There was no effect on these parameters after knockdown of PLD1, but PLD1/2 double knockdown had effects comparable to PLD inhibition. 24R,25(OH)2D3 increased PLD activity and the production of osteocalcin and osteoprotegerin, but decreased cell number on the rough/high-energy surfaces. These results confirm that surface roughness/energy-induced PLD activity is required for osteoblast differentiation and that PLD2 is the main isoform involved in this pathway. PLD is activated by 24R,25(OH)2D3 in a surface-dependent manner and inhibition of PLD reduces the effects of surface microstructure/energy on PKC, suggesting that PLD mediates the stimulatory effect of microstructured/high-energy surfaces via PKC-dependent signaling.
doi:10.1002/jbm.a.32596
PMCID: PMC4287411  PMID: 19705469
phospholipase D; osteoblast differentiation; titanium surface microstructure and surface energy; vitamin D metabolites; mechanism of cell surface interaction
2.  Role of non-canonical Wnt signaling in osteoblast maturation on microstructured titanium surfaces 
Acta biomaterialia  2011;7(6):2740-2750.
The Wnt signaling pathway inhibitor Dickkopf-2 (Dkk2) regulates osteoblast differentiation on microstructured titanium (Ti) surfaces, suggesting involvement of Wnt signaling in this process. To test this, human osteoblast-like MG63 cells were cultured on tissue culture polystyrene or Ti (smooth PT (Ra = 0.2 μm), sand-blasted and acid-etched SLA (Ra = 3.22 μm), modSLA (hydrophilic SLA)). Expression of Wnt pathway receptors, activators and inhibitors was measured by qPCR. Non-canonical pathway ligands, receptors and intracellular signaling molecules, as well as bone morphogenetic proteins BMP2 and BMP4, were upregulated on SLA and modSLA, whereas canonical pathway members were downregulated. To confirm that non-canonical signaling was involved, cells were cultured daily with exogenous Wnt3a (canonical pathway) or Wnt5a (non-canonical pathway). Alternatively, cells were cultured with antibodies to Wnt3a or Wnt5a to validate that Wnt proteins secreted by the cells were mediating cell responses to the surface. Wnt5a, but not Wnt3a, increased MG63 cell differentiation and BMP2 and BMP4 proteins, suggesting Wnt5a promotes osteogenic differentiation through production of BMPs. Effects of exogenous and endogenous Wnt5a were synergistic with surface microstructure, suggesting the response also depends on cell maturation state. These results indicate a major role for the non-canonical, calcium-dependent Wnt pathway in differentiation of osteoblasts on microstructured titanium surfaces during implant osseointegration.
doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2011.02.030
PMCID: PMC4287412  PMID: 21352958
Cell signaling; Titanium surface roughness; Osteoblast differentiation; Gene expression; Regulatory factors
3.  Enhancement of Surface Wettability via the Modification of Microtextured Titanium Implant Surfaces with Polyelectrolytes 
Micrometer- and submicrometer-scale surface roughness enhances osteoblast differentiation on titanium (Ti) substrates and increases bone-to-implant contact in vivo. However, the low surface wettability induced by surface roughness can retard initial interactions with the physiological environment. We examined chemical modifications of Ti surfaces [pretreated (PT), Ra ≥ 0.3 μm; sand blasted/acid etched (SLA), Ra ≥ 3.0 μm] in order to modify surface hydrophilicity. We designed coating layers of polyelectrolytes that did not alter the surface microstructure but increased surface ionic character, including chitosan (CHI), poly(l-glutamic acid) (PGA), and poly(l-lysine) (PLL). Ti disks were cleaned and sterilized. Surface chemical composition, roughness, wettability, and morphology of surfaces before and after polyelectrolyte coating were examined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), contact mode profilometry, contact angle measurement, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). High-resolution XPS spectra data validated the formation of polyelectrolyte layers on top of the Ti surface. The surface coverage of the polyelectrolyte adsorbed on Ti surfaces was evaluated with the pertinent SEM images and XPS peak intensity as a function of polyelectrolyte adsorption time on the Ti surface. PLL was coated in a uniform thin layer on the PT surface. CHI and PGA were coated evenly on PT, albeit in an incomplete monolayer. CHI, PGA, and PLL were coated on the SLA surface with complete coverage. The selected polyelectrolytes enhanced surface wettability without modifying surface roughness. These chemically modified surfaces on implant devices can contribute to the enhancement of osteoblast differentiation.
doi:10.1021/la2000415
PMCID: PMC4287413  PMID: 21513319
4.  Mechanical stiffness as an improved single-cell indicator of osteoblastic human mesenchymal stem cell differentiation 
Journal of biomechanics  2013;47(9):2197-2204.
Although it has been established that cellular stiffness can change as a stem cell differentiates, the precise relationship between cell mechanics and other phenotypic properties remains unclear. Inherent cell heterogeneity and asynchronous differentiation complicate population analysis; therefore, single-cell analysis was employed to determine how changes in cell stiffness correlate with changes in molecular biomarkers during differentiation. Design of a custom gridded tissue culture dish facilitated single-cell comparisons between cell mechanics and other differentiation biomarkers by enabling sequential measurement of cell mechanics and protein biomarker expression at the single cell level. The Young’s modulus of mesenchymal stem cells was shown not only to decrease during chemically-induced osteoblast differentiation, but also to correlate more closely with the day of differentiation than did the relative expression of the traditional osteoblast differentiation markers, bone sialoprotein and osteocalcin. Therefore, cell stiffness, a measurable property of individual cells, may serve as an improved indicator of single-cell osteoblast differentiation compared to traditional biological markers. Revelation of additional osteoblast differentiation indicators, such as cell stiffness, can improve identification and collection of starting cell populations, with applications to mesenchymal stem cell therapies and stem cell-based tissue engineering.
doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.11.017
PMCID: PMC4024369  PMID: 24296276
MSC; Atomic force microscopy; Bone sialoprotein; Cell stiffness; Osteoblast differentiation; Osteocalcin
5.  Impaired Bone Formation in Pdia3 Deficient Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112708.
1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1α,25(OH)2D3] is crucial for normal skeletal development and bone homeostasis. Protein disulfide isomerase family A, member 3 (PDIA3) mediates 1α,25(OH)2D3 initiated-rapid membrane signaling in several cell types. To understand its role in regulating skeletal development, we generated Pdia3-deficient mice and examined the physiologic consequence of Pdia3-disruption in embryos and Pdia3+/− heterozygotes at different ages. No mice homozygous for the Pdia3-deletion were found at birth nor were there embryos after E12.5, indicating that targeted disruption of the Pdia3 gene resulted in early embryonic lethality. Pdia3-deficiency also resulted in skeletal manifestations as revealed by µCT analysis of the tibias. In comparison to wild type mice, Pdia3 heterozygous mice displayed expanded growth plates associated with decreased tether formation. Histomorphometry also showed that the hypertrophic zone in Pdia3+/− mice was more cellular than seen in wild type growth plates. Metaphyseal trabecular bone in Pdia3+/− mice exhibited an age-dependent phenotype with lower BV/TV and trabecular numbers, which was most pronounced at 15 weeks of age. Bone marrow cells from Pdia3+/− mice exhibited impaired osteoblastic differentiation, based on reduced expression of osteoblast markers and mineral deposition compared to cells from wild type animals. Collectively, our findings provide in vivo evidence that PDIA3 is essential for normal skeletal development. The fact that the Pdia3+/− heterozygous mice share a similar growth plate and bone phenotype to nVdr knockout mice, suggests that PDIA3-mediated rapid membrane signaling might be an alternative mechanism responsible for 1α,25(OH)2D3’s actions in regulating skeletal development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112708
PMCID: PMC4236091  PMID: 25405762
7.  Osteoblast Lineage Cells Can Discriminate Microscale Topographic Features on Titanium–Aluminum–Vanadium Surfaces 
Annals of Biomedical Engineering  2014;42(12):2551-2561.
Titanium (Ti) and Ti alloys are used in orthopaedic/spine applications where biological implant fixation, or osseointegration, is required for long-term stability. These implants employ macro-scale features to provide mechanical stability until arthrodesis, features that are too large to influence healing at the cellular level. Micron-scale rough Ti alloy (Ti–6Al–4V) increases osteoblastic differentiation and osteogenic factor production in vitro and increases in vivo bone formation; however, effects of overall topography, including sub-micron scale and nanoscale features, on osteoblast lineage cells are less well appreciated. To address this, Ti6Al4V surfaces with macro/micro/nano-textures were generated using sand blasting and acid etching that had comparable average roughness values but differed in other roughness parameters (total roughness, profile roughness, maximum peak height, maximum valley depth, root-mean-squared roughness, kurtosis, skewness) (#5, #9, and #12). Human mesenchymal stem cells (HMSCs) and normal human osteoblasts (NHOst) were cultured for 7 days on the substrates and then analyzed for alkaline phosphatase activity and osteocalcin content, production of osteogenic local factors, and integrin subunit expression. All three surfaces supported osteoblastic differentiation of HMSCs and further maturation of NHOst cells, but the greatest response was seen on the #9 substrate, which had the lowest skewness and kurtosis. The #9 surface also induced highest expression of α2 and β1 integrin mRNA. HMSCs produced highest levels of ITGAV on #9, suggesting this integrin may play a role for early lineage cells. These results indicate that osteoblast lineage cells are sensitive to specific micro/nanostructures, even when overall macro roughness is comparable and suggest that skewness and kurtosis are important variables.
doi:10.1007/s10439-014-1108-3
PMCID: PMC4239824  PMID: 25227453
Human mesenchymal stem cells; Osteoblast differentiation; Titanium alloy
8.  Characterization of Distinct Classes of Differential Gene Expression in Osteoblast Cultures from Non-Syndromic Craniosynostosis Bone 
Journal of Genomics  2014;2:121-130.
Craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of one or more skull sutures, occurs in approximately 1 in 2500 infants, with the majority of cases non-syndromic and of unknown etiology. Two common reasons proposed for premature suture fusion are abnormal compression forces on the skull and rare genetic abnormalities. Our goal was to evaluate whether different sub-classes of disease can be identified based on total gene expression profiles. RNA-Seq data were obtained from 31 human osteoblast cultures derived from bone biopsy samples collected between 2009 and 2011, representing 23 craniosynostosis fusions and 8 normal cranial bones or long bones. No differentiation between regions of the skull was detected, but variance component analysis of gene expression patterns nevertheless supports transcriptome-based classification of craniosynostosis. Cluster analysis showed 4 distinct groups of samples; 1 predominantly normal and 3 craniosynostosis subtypes. Similar constellations of sub-types were also observed upon re-analysis of a similar dataset of 199 calvarial osteoblast cultures. Annotation of gene function of differentially expressed transcripts strongly implicates physiological differences with respect to cell cycle and cell death, stromal cell differentiation, extracellular matrix (ECM) components, and ribosomal activity. Based on these results, we propose non-syndromic craniosynostosis cases can be classified by differences in their gene expression patterns and that these may provide targets for future clinical intervention.
doi:10.7150/jgen.8833
PMCID: PMC4150121  PMID: 25184005
Non-syndromic craniosynostosis; RNA-Seq; Transcriptome profile; Personalized medicine; Biomarkers.
9.  Electrical Polarization of Titanium Surfaces for the Enhancement of Osteoblast Differentiation 
Bioelectromagnetics  2013;34(8):599-612.
Electrical stimulation has been used clinically to promote bone regeneration in cases of fractures with delayed union or nonunion, with several in vitro and in vivo reports suggesting its beneficial effects on bone formation. However, the use of electrical stimulation of titanium (Ti) implants to enhance osseointegration is less understood, in part because of the few in vitro models that attempt to represent the in vivo environment. In this article, the design of a new in vitro system that allows direct electrical stimulation of osteoblasts through their Ti substrates without the flow of exogenous currents through the media is presented, and the effect of applied electrical polarization on osteoblast differentiation and local factor production was evaluated. A custom-made polycarbonate tissue culture plate was designed to allow electrical connections directly underneath Ti disks placed inside the wells, which were supplied with electrical polarization ranging from 100 to 500 mV to stimulate MG63 osteoblasts. Our results show that electrical polarization applied directly through Ti substrates on which the cells are growing in the absence of applied electrical currents may increase osteoblast differentiation and local factor production in a voltage-dependent manner.
doi:10.1002/bem.21810
PMCID: PMC4009505  PMID: 23996899
electrical stimulation; current; osseointegration of metal implants; bone; Ti surface properties; polarization
10.  The Roles of Titanium Surface Micro/Nanotopography and Wettability on the Differential Response of Human Osteoblast Lineage Cells 
Acta biomaterialia  2012;9(4):6268-6277.
Surface micro and nanostructural modifications of dental and orthopaedic implants have shown promising in vitro, in vivo, and clinical results. Surface wettability has also been suggested to play an important role in osteoblast differentiation and osseointegration. However, the available techniques to measure surface wettability are not reliable on clinically-relevant, rough surfaces. Furthermore, how the differentiation state of osteoblast lineage cells impacts their response to micro/nanostructured surfaces, and the role of wettability on this response, remains unclear. In the current study, surface wettability analyses (optical sessile drop analysis, ESEM analysis, and the Wilhelmy technique) indicated hydrophobic static responses for deposited water droplets on microrough and micro/nanostructured specimens, while hydrophilic responses were observed with dynamic analyses of micro/nanostructured specimens. The maturation and local factor production of human immature osteoblast-like MG63 cells was synergistically influenced by nanostructures superimposed onto microrough titanium (Ti) surfaces. In contrast, human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) cultured on micro/nanostructured surfaces in the absence of exogenous soluble factors, exhibited less robust osteoblastic differentiation and local factor production compared to cultures on unmodified microroughened Ti. Our results support previous observations using Ti6Al4V surfaces showing that recognition of surface nanostructures and subsequent cell response is dependent on the differentiation state of osteoblast lineage cells. The results also indicate that this effect may be partly modulated by surface wettability. These findings support the conclusion that the successful osseointegration of an implant depends on contributions from osteoblast lineage cells at different stages of osteoblast commitment.
doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2012.12.002
PMCID: PMC3618468  PMID: 23232211
commercially pure grade 2 titanium implants; osseointegration; bone; nanostructures; mesenchymal stem cell differentiation; dynamic contact angle
11.  Microstructured Titanium Regulates Interleukin Production by Osteoblasts, an Effect Modulated by Exogenous BMP-2 
Acta biomaterialia  2012;9(3):5821-5829.
Microtextured implant surfaces increase osteoblast differentiation in vitro and enhance bone-to-implant contact in vivo and clinically. These implants may be used in combination with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) to enhance peri-implant bone formation. However, the effect of surface modifications alone or in combination with rhBMP-2 on osteoblast-produced inflammatory microenvironment is unknown. MG63 cells were cultured on tissue culture polystyrene or titanium substrates: smooth pretreated (PT, Ra=0.2μm), sandblasted/acid-etched (SLA, Ra=3.2μm), or hydrophilic-SLA (modSLA). Expression and protein production of pro-inflammatory interleukins (IL1b, IL6, IL8, IL17) and anti-inflammatory interleukins (IL10) were measured in cells with or without rhBMP-2. To determine which BMP signaling pathways were involved, cultures were incubated with BMP pathway inhibitors to blocking Smad (dorsomorphin), TAB/TAK1 ((5Z)-7-oxozeaenol), or PKA (H-8) signaling. Culture on rough SLA and modSLA surfaces decreased pro-inflammatory interleukins and increased anti-inflammatory IL10. This effect was negated in cells treated with rhBMP-2, which caused an increase in pro-inflammatory interleukins and a decrease in anti-inflammatory interleukins through TAB/TAK signaling. The results suggest that surface microtexture modulates the inflammatory process during osseointegration, an effect that may enhance healing. However, rhBMP-2 in combination with microtextured titanium implants can influence the effect of cells on these surfaces, and may adversely affect cells involved in osseointegration.
doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2012.10.030
PMCID: PMC3618455  PMID: 23123301
Microstructure; Inflammation; BMP (bone morphogenetic protein); Titanium
12.  Rapid Re-synostosis Following Suturectomy in Pediatric Mice is Age and Location Dependent 
Bone  2012;53(1):284-293.
Craniosynostosis is the premature fusion of the cranial sutures early in development. If left untreated, craniosynostosis can lead to complications resulting from cranial deformities or increased intracranial pressure. The standard treatment involves calvarial reconstruction, which in many cases undergoes rapid re-synostosis. This requires additional surgical intervention that is associated with a high incidence of life threatening complications. To better understand this rapid healing, a pediatric mouse model of re-synostosis was developed and characterized. Defects (1.5 mm by 2.5 mm) over the posterior frontal suture were created surgically in weanling (21 days post-natal) and adolescent (50 days post-natal) C57Bl/6J mice. In addition, defects were created in the frontal bone lateral to the posterior frontal suture. The regeneration of bone in the defect was assessed using advanced image processing algorithms on micro-computed tomography scans. The genes associated with defect healing were assessed by real-time PCR of mRNA isolated from the tissue present in the defect. The results showed that the weanling mouse healed in a biphasic process with bone bridging the defect by post-operative (post-op) day 3 followed by an increase in the bone volume on day 14. In adolescent mice, there was a delay in bone bridging across the defect, and no subsequent increase in bone volume. No bridging of the defect by 14 days post-op was seen in identically sized defects placed lateral to the suture in both a weanling and adolescent animals. This study demonstrates that bone regeneration in the cranium is both age and location dependent. Rapid and robust bone regeneration only occurred when the defect was created over the posterior frontal suture in immature weanling mice.
doi:10.1016/j.bone.2012.11.019
PMCID: PMC3781584  PMID: 23201269
Craniosynostosis; Cranial defect; Micro-CT; Endochondral ossification; Re-synostosis
13.  BMP2 Induces Osteoblast Apoptosis in a Maturation State and Noggin-dependent Manner 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2012;113(10):10.1002/jcb.24201.
Large doses of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) are used clinically to induce bone formation in challenging bone defects. However, complications after treatment include swelling, ectopic bone formation, and adjacent bone resorption. While BMP2 can be effective, it is important to characterize the mechanism of the deleterious effects to optimize its use. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of BMP2 on apoptosis in osteoblast lineage cells and to determine the role of the BMP inhibitor Noggin in this process. Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), immature osteoblast-like MG63 cells, and mature normal human osteoblasts (NHOst) were treated with BMP2. A model system of increased endogenous BMP signaling was created by silencing Noggin (shNOG-MG63). Finally, the BMP pathway regulating apoptosis in NHOst was examined using BMP signaling inhibitors (5Z-7-oxozeaenol, dorsomorphin, H-8). Apoptosis was characterized by caspase-3, BAX/BCL2, p53, and DNA fragmentation. BMP2 induced apoptosis in a cell-type dependent manner. While the effect was minor in MSCs, MG63 cells had modest increases and NHOst cells had robust increases apoptosis after BMP2 treatment. Apoptosis was significantly higher in shNOG-MG63 than MG63 cells. 5Z-7-oxozeaenol and dorsomorphin eliminated the BMP2-induced increase in DNA fragmentation in NHOst, suggesting roles for TAB/TAK1 and Smad signaling. These results indicate that the apoptotic effect of BMP2 is dependent on cell maturation state, inducing apoptosis in committed osteoblasts through Smad and TAB/TAK1 signaling, and is regulated by Noggin. Dose and delivery must be optimized in therapeutic applications of BMP2 to minimize complications.
doi:10.1002/jcb.24201
PMCID: PMC3852427  PMID: 22628200
Human osteoblasts; BMP (bone morphogenetic protein); Apoptosis; Noggin silencing; Human mesenchymal stem cells
14.  Differential Responses of Osteoblast Lineage Cells to Nanotopographically-Modified, Microroughened Titanium-Aluminum-Vanadium Alloy Surfaces 
Biomaterials  2012;33(35):8986-8994.
Surface structural modifications at the micrometer and nanometer scales have driven improved success rates of dental and orthopaedic implants by mimicking the hierarchical structure of bone. However, how initial osteoblast-lineage cells populating an implant surface respond to different hierarchical surface topographical cues remains to be elucidated, with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or immature osteoblasts as possible initial colonizers. Here we show that in the absence of any exogenous soluble factors, osteoblastic maturation of primary human osteoblasts (HOBs) but not osteoblastic differentiation of MSCs is strongly influenced by nanostructures superimposed onto a microrough Ti6Al4V (TiAlV) alloy. The sensitivity of osteoblasts to both surface microroughness and nanostructures led to a synergistic effect on maturation and local factor production. Osteoblastic differentiation of MSCs was sensitive to TiAlV surface microroughness with respect to production of differentiation markers, but no further enhancement was found when cultured on micro/nanostructured surfaces. Superposition of nanostructures to microroughened surfaces affected final MSC numbers and enhanced production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) but the magnitude of the response was lower than for HOB cultures. Our results suggest that the differentiation state of osteoblast-lineage cells determines the recognition of surface nanostructures and subsequent cell response, which has implications for clinical evaluation of new implant surface nanomodifications.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.08.059
PMCID: PMC3618458  PMID: 22989383
(4 to 6) metallic implants; osteointegration; titanium aluminum vanadium alloy; bone; nanostructures; osteoblast differentiation
15.  Osteoblast Maturation and New Bone Formation in Response to Titanium Implant Surface Features are Reduced with Age 
The surface properties of materials contribute to host cellular response and play a significant role in determining the overall success or failure of an implanted biomaterial. Rough titanium (Ti) surface microtopography and high surface free energy have been shown to enhance osteoblast maturation in vitro and increase bone formation in vivo. While the surface properties of Ti are known to affect osteoblast response, host bone quality also plays a significant role in determining successful osseointegration. One factor affecting host bone quality is patient age. We examined both in vitro and in vivo whether response to Ti surface features was affected by animal age. Calvarial osteoblasts isolated from 1-, 3-, and 11-month-old rats all displayed a reduction in cell number and increases in alkaline phosphatase specific activity and osteocalcin in response to increasing Ti surface microtopography and surface energy. Further, osteoblasts from the three ages examined displayed increased production of osteocalcin and local factors osteoprotegerin, VEGF-A, and active TGF-β1 in response to increasing Ti surface roughness and surface energy. Latent TGF-β1 only increased in cultures of osteoblasts from 1- and 3-month-old rats. Treatment with the systemic osteotropic hormone 1α,25(OH)2D3 further enhanced the response of osteoblasts to Ti surface features for all three age groups. However, osteoblasts derived from 11-month-old animals had a reduced response to 1α,25(OH)2D3 as compared to osteoblasts derived from 1-or 3-month-old animals. These results were confirmed in vivo. Ti implants placed in the femoral intramedullary canal of old (9-month) mice yielded lower bone-to-implant contract and neovascularization in response to Ti surface roughness and energy compared to younger (2-month) mice. These results show that rodent osteoblast maturation in vitro as well as new bone formation in vivo is reduced with age. Whether comparable age differences exist in humans needs to be determined.
doi:10.1002/jbmr.1628
PMCID: PMC3835587  PMID: 22492532
16.  The responses to surface wettability gradients induced by chitosan nanofilms on microtextured titanium mediated by specific integrin receptors 
Biomaterials  2012;33(30):7386-7393.
Microtexture and chemistry of implant surfaces are important variables for modulating cellular responses. Surface chemistry and wettability are connected directly. While each of these surface properties can influence cell response, it is difficult to decouple their specific contributions. To address this problem, the aims of this study were to develop a surface wettability gradient with a specific chemistry without altering micron scale roughness and to investigate the role of surface wettability on osteoblast response. Microtextured sandblasted/acid-etched (SLA, Sa = 3.1 μm) titanium disks were treated with oxygen plasma to increase reactive oxygen density on the surface. At 0, 2, 6, 10, and 24 h after removing them from the plasma, the surfaces were coated with chitosan for 30 min, rinsed and dried. Modified SLA surfaces are denoted as SLA/h in air prior to coating. Surface characterization demonstrated that this process yielded differing wettability (SLA0 < SLA2 < SLA10 < SLA24) without modifying the micron scale features of the surface. Cell number was reduced in a wettability-dependent manner, except for the most water-wettable surface, SLA24. There was no difference in alkaline phosphatase activity with differing wettability. Increased wettability yielded increased osteocalcin and osteoprotegerin production, except on the SLA24 surfaces. mRNA for integrins α1, α2, α5, β1, and β3 was sensitive to surface wettability. However, surface wettability did not affect mRNA levels for integrin α3. Silencing β1 increased cell number with reduced osteocalcin and osteoprotegerin in a wettability-dependent manner. Surface wettability as a primary regulator enhanced osteoblast differentiation, but integrin expression and silencing β1 results indicate that surface wettability regulates osteoblast through differential integrin expression profiles than microtexture does. The results may indicate that both microtexture and wettability with a specific chemistry have important regulatory effects on osseointegration. Each property had different effects, which were mediated by different integrin receptors.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.06.066
PMCID: PMC3781581  PMID: 22835642
Wettability; Oxygen plasma; Chitosan; Titanium; Osteoblast; Integrin
17.  Osteogenic Differentiation of Stem Cells Alters Vitamin D Receptor Expression 
Stem Cells and Development  2011;21(10):1726-1735.
Pluripotent and multipotent stem cells adopt an osteoblastic phenotype when cultured in environments that enhance their osteogenic potential. Embryonic stem cells differentiated as embryoid bodies (EBs) in osteogenic medium containing β-glycerophosphate exhibit increased expression of bone markers, indicating that cells are osteoblastic. Interestingly, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitaminD3 (1,25D) enhances the osteogenic phenotype not just in EBs but also in multipotent adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). 1,25D acts on osteoblasts via classical vitamin D receptors (VDR) and via a membrane 1,25D-binding protein [protein disulfide isomerase family A, member 3 (PDIA3)], which activates protein kinase C -signaling. The aims of this study were to determine whether these receptors are regulated during osteogenic differentiation of stem cells and if stem cells and differentiated progeny are responsive to 1,25D. mRNA and protein levels for VDR, PDIA3, and osteoblast-associated proteins were measured in undifferentiated cells and in cells treated with osteogenic medium. Mouse EBs expressed both VDR and PDIA3, but VDR increased as cells underwent osteogenic differentiation. Human MSCs expressed Pdia3 at constant levels throughout differentiation, but VDR increased in cells treated with osteogenic medium. These results suggest that both 1,25D signaling mechanisms are important, with PDIA3 playing a greater role during early events and VDR playing a greater role in later stages of differentiation. Understanding these coordinated events provide a powerful tool to control pluripotent and multipotent stem cell differentiation through induction medium.
doi:10.1089/scd.2011.0411
PMCID: PMC3376455  PMID: 22034957
18.  Use of polyelectrolyte thin films to modulate Osteoblast response to microstructured titanium surfaces 
Biomaterials  2012;33(21):5267-5277.
The microstructure and wettability of titanium (Ti) surfaces directly impact osteoblast differentiation in vitro and in vivo. These surface properties are important variables that control initial interactions of an implant with the physiological environment, potentially affecting osseointegration. The objective of this study was to use polyelectrolyte thin films to investigate how surface chemistry modulates response of human MG63 osteoblast-like cells to surface microstructure. Three polyelectrolytes, chitosan, poly(l-glutamic acid), and poly(l-lysine), were used to coat Ti substrates with two different microtopographies (PT, Sa = 0.37 µm and SLA, Sa = 2.54 µm). The polyelectrolyte coatings significantly increased wettability of PT and SLA without altering micron-scale roughness or morphology of the surface. Enhanced wettability of all coated PT surfaces was correlated with increased cell numbers whereas cell number was reduced on coated SLA surfaces. Alkaline phosphatase specific activity was increased on coated SLA surfaces than on uncoated SLA whereas no differences in enzyme activity were seen on coated PT compared to uncoated PT. Culture on chitosan-coated SLA enhanced osteocalcin and osteoprotegerin production. Integrin expression on smooth surfaces was sensitive to surface chemistry, but microtexture was the dominant variable in modulating integrin expression on SLA. These results suggest that surface wettability achieved using different thin films has a major role in regulating osteoblast response to Ti, but this is dependent on the microtexture of the substrate.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.03.074
PMCID: PMC3618464  PMID: 22541354
Wettability; Titanium; Surface roughness; Osteoblast
19.  Effect of cleaning and sterilization on titanium implant surface properties and cellular response 
Acta biomaterialia  2011;8(5):1966-1975.
Titanium (Ti) has been widely used as an implant material due to the excellent biocompatibility and corrosion resistance of its oxide surface. Biomaterials must be sterile before implantation, but the effects of sterilization on their surface properties have been less well studied. The effects of cleaning and sterilization on surface characteristics were bio-determined using contaminated and pure Ti substrata first manufactured to present two different surface structures: pretreated titanium (PT, Ra = 0.4 μm) (i.e. surfaces that were not modified by sandblasting and/or acid etching); (SLA, Ra = 3.4 μm). Previously cultured cells and associated extracellular matrix were removed from all bio-contaminated specimens by cleaning in a sonicator bath with a sequential acetone–isopropanol–ethanol–distilled water protocol. Cleaned specimens were sterilized with autoclave, gamma irradiation, oxygen plasma, or ultraviolet light. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), contact angle measurements, profilometry, and scanning electron microscopy were used to examine surface chemical components, hydrophilicity, roughness, and morphology, respectively. Small organic molecules present on contaminated Ti surfaces were removed with cleaning. XPS analysis confirmed that surface chemistry was altered by both cleaning and sterilization. Cleaning and sterilization affected hydrophobicity and roughness. These modified surface properties affected osteogenic differentiation of human MG63 osteoblast-like cells. Specifically, autoclaved SLA surfaces lost the characteristic increase in osteoblast differentiation seen on starting SLA surfaces, which was correlated with altered surface wettability and roughness. These data indicated that recleaned and resterilized Ti implant surfaces cannot be considered the same as the first surfaces in terms of surface properties and cell responses. Therefore, the reuse of Ti implants after resterilization may not result in the same tissue responses as found with never-before-implanted specimens.
doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2011.11.026
PMCID: PMC3618465  PMID: 22154860
Titanium; Sterilization; Roughness; Hydrophilicity; MG63 cells
20.  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.
Purpose
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2012.02.002
PMCID: PMC3618467  PMID: 22424980
Ti6Al4V; PEEK; Osteoblast; BMP; Roughness
21.  The roles of Wnt signaling modulators Dickkopf-1 (Dkk1) and Dickkopf-2 (Dkk2) and cell maturation state in osteogenesis on microstructured titanium surfaces 
Biomaterials  2009;31(8):2015-2024.
Osteoblast differentiation on tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS) requires Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, regulating modulators of the Wnt pathway like Dickkopf-1 (Dkk1) and Dkk2. Osteoblast differentiation is increased on microstructured titanium (Ti) surfaces compared to TCPS; therefore, we hypothesized that surface topography and hydrophilicity affect Dkk1 and Dkk2 expression and that their roles in osteoblast differentiation on Ti differs depending on cell maturation state. Human osteoblast-like MG63 cells, normal human osteoblasts (HOBs), and human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), as well as MG63 cells stably silenced for Dkk1 or Dkk2 were grown for 6 days on TCPS and Ti surfaces (PT [Ra<0.2 μm], SLA [Ra = 4 μm], modSLA [hydrophilic-SLA]). Dkk1 and Dkk2 mRNA and protein increased on SLA and modSLA for all cell types, but exogenous rhDkk1 and rhDkk2 affected MSCs differently than MG63 cells and HOBs. Silencing Dkk1 reduced MG63 cell number on TCPS and PT, but increased differentiation on these substrates. Silencing Dkk2 reduced stimulatory effects of SLA and modSLA on osteoblast differentiation; Dkk2 but not Dkk1 restored these effects. Antibodies to Dkk1 or Dkk2 specifically blocked substrate-dependent changes caused by the proteins, demonstrating their autocrine action. This indicates major roles for Dkk1 and the canonical Wnt pathway in early-stage differentiation, and for Dkk2 and Wnt/Ca2+-dependent signaling in late-stage differentiation on microstructured and hydrophilic surfaces, during osseointegration.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.11.071
PMCID: PMC3618462  PMID: 20004015
Osseointegration; Titanium; Osteoblast; Mesenchymal stem cell; Surface roughness; Cell signaling
22.  Effects of Structural Properties of Electrospun TiO2 Nano-fiber Meshes on their Osteogenic Potential 
Acta Biomaterialia  2011;8(2):878-885.
Ideal outcomes in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine involve biomaterials that can enhance cell differentiation and production of local factors for natural tissue regeneration without the use of systemic drugs. Biomaterials typically used in tissue engineering applications include polymeric scaffolds that mimic the 3-D structural environment of the native tissue, but these are often functionalized with proteins or small peptides to improve their biological performance. For bone applications, titanium (Ti) implants, or more appropriately the titania (TiO2) passive oxide layer formed on their surface, have been shown to enhance osteoblast differentiation in vitro and to promote osseointegration in vivo. In this study we evaluated the effect on osteoblast differentiation of pure TiO2 nano-fiber meshes with different surface micro-roughness and nano-fiber diameters, prepared by the electrospinning method. MG63 cells were seeded on TiO2 meshes, and cell number, differentiation markers and local factor production were analyzed. The results showed that cells grew throughout the entire surfaces and with similar morphology in all groups. Cell number was sensitive to surface micro-roughness, whereas cell differentiation and local factor production was regulated by both surface roughness and nano-fiber diameter. These results indicate that scaffold structural cues alone can be used to drive cell differentiation and create an osteogenic environment without the use of exogenous factors.
doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2011.10.023
PMCID: PMC3309709  PMID: 22075122
nano structures; electrospinning; scaffold; titanium implant; tissue engineering; bone
23.  Mediation of Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Titanium Surfaces by a Wnt-Integrin Feedback Loop 
Biomaterials  2011;32(27):6399-6411.
Peri-implant bone formation depends on the ability of mesenchymal cells to colonize the implant surface and differentiate into osteoblasts. Human mesenchymal stem cells (HMSCs) undergo osteoblastic differentiation on microstructured titanium (Ti) surfaces in the absence of exogenous factors, but the mechanisms are unknown. Wnt proteins are associated with an osteoblast phenotype, but how Wnt signaling regulates HMSC differentiation on microstructured Ti surfaces is not known. HMSCs were cultured on tissue culture polystyrene or Ti (PT [Sa=0.33μm, θ=96°], SLA [Sa=2.5μm, θ=132°], modSLA [hydrophilic-SLA]). Expression of calcium-dependent Wnt ligand WNT5A increased and canonical Wnt pathway ligands decreased on microstructured Ti in a time-dependent manner. Treatment of HMSCs with canonical ligand Wnt3a preserved the mesenchymal phenotype on smooth surfaces. Treatment with Wnt5a increased osteoblastic differentiation. Expression of integrins ITGA1, ITGA2, and ITGAV increased over time and correlated with increased WNT5A expression. Treatment of HMSCs with Wnt5a, but not Wnt3a, increased integrin expression. Regulation of integrin expression due to surface roughness and energy was ablated in WNT5A-knockdown HMSCs. This indicates that surface properties regulate stem cell fate and induce osteoblast differentiation via the Wnt calcium-dependent pathway. Wnt5a enhances osteogenesis through a positive feedback with integrins and local factor regulation, particularly though BMP signaling.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.05.036
PMCID: PMC3350791  PMID: 21636130
Cell signaling; Surface roughness; Titanium; Stem cell; Growth factors
24.  Use of Molecular Beacons to Image Effects of Titanium Surface Microstructure on β1 Integrin Expression in Live Osteoblast-like Cells 
Biomaterials  2010;31(30):7640-7647.
This study used molecular beacon technology to examine substrate-dependent changes in integrin subunit expression in living cells. Molecular beacons are oligonucleotide probes that can be delivered into live cells to allow for real-time imaging of mRNA. They have a stem-loop hairpin structure with a fluorophore-quencher pair, which opens when bound to the target mRNA sequence, resulting in a fluorescent signal upon excitation. A novel molecular beacon that is specific to the β1 integrin subunit mRNA was developed and used to image osteoblast-like MG63 cells in vitro on both glass and titanium surfaces of varying roughness. Specificity was verified by comparing the molecular beacon signal intensities to real-time PCR results in both wild-type cells and cells with shRNA knockdown of β1 integrin mRNA. The molecular beacon was able to detect changes due to both surface microtopography and silencing of the mRNA target. The results showed that effects of the substrate on β1 mRNA noted previously in confluent cultures were evident in pre-confluent cells as well, supporting the hypothesis that β1 integrin pairs are important in proliferation as well as differentiation of osteoblasts. This technique overcomes the limitations of traditional gene assays (PCR, immunofluorescence) by allowing for the real-time measurement and tracking of specific mRNAs in individual live cells prior to confluence.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.07.009
PMCID: PMC3350792  PMID: 20674005
Gene expression; Molecular imaging; Osteoblast; Titanium; Integrin
25.  Regulation of Angiogenesis during Osseointegration by Titanium Surface Microstructure and Energy 
Biomaterials  2010;31(18):4909-4917.
Rough titanium (Ti) surface microarchitecture and high surface energy have been shown to increase osteoblast differentiation, and this response occurs through signaling via the α2β1 integrin. However, clinical success of implanted materials is dependent not only upon osseointegration but also on neovascularization in the peri-implant bone. Here we tested the hypothesis that Ti surface microtopography and energy interact via α2β1 signaling to regulate the expression of angiogenic growth factors. Primary human osteoblasts (HOB), MG63 cells and MG63 cells silenced for α2 integrin were cultured on Ti disks with different surface microtopographies and energies. Secreted levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) were measured. VEGF-A increased 170% and 250% in MG63 cultures, and 178% and 435% in HOB cultures on SLA and modSLA substrates, respectively. In MG63 cultures, FGF-2 levels increased 20 and 40-fold while EGF increased 4 and 6-fold on SLA and modSLA surfaces. These factors were undetectable in HOB cultures. Ang-1 levels were unchanged on all surfaces. Media from modSLA MG63 cultures induced more rapid differentiation of endothelial cells and this effect was inhibited by anti-VEGF-A antibodies. Treatment of MG63 cells with 1α,25(OH)2D3 enhanced levels of VEGF-A on SLA and modSLA. Silencing the α2 integrin subunit increased VEGF-A levels and decreased FGF-2 levels. These results show that Ti surface microtopography and energy modulate secretion of angiogenic growth factors by osteoblasts and that this regulation is mediated at least partially via α2β1 integrin signaling.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.02.071
PMCID: PMC2896824  PMID: 20356623
Titanium; microstructure; surface energy; osteoblast; angiogenesis; VEGF

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