Co-Culture with Human Osteoblasts and Exposure to Extremely Low Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields Improve Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Sabrina Ehnert, Martijn van Griensven, Marina Unger, Hanna Scheffler, Karsten Falldorf, Anne-Kristin Fentz, Claudine Seeliger, Steffen Schröter, Andreas K Nussler, Elizabeth R Balmayor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (Ad-MSCs) have been proposed as suitable option for cell-based therapies to support bone regeneration. In the bone environment, Ad-MSCs will receive stimuli from resident cells that may favor their osteogenic differentiation. There is recent evidence that this process can be further improved by extremely low frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (ELF-PEMFs). Thus, the project aimed at (i) investigating whether co-culture conditions of human osteoblasts (OBs) and Ad-MSCs have an impact on their proliferation and osteogenic differentiation; (ii) whether this effect can be further improved by repetitive exposure to two specific ELF-PEMFs (16 and 26 Hz); (iii) and the effect of these ELF-PEMFs on human osteoclasts (OCs). Osteogenic differentiation was improved by co-culturing OBs and Ad-MSCs when compared to the individual mono-cultures. An OB to Ad-MSC ratio of 3:1 had best effects on total protein content, alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity, and matrix mineralization. Osteogenic differentiation was further improved by both ELF-PEMFs investigated. Interestingly, only repetitive exposure to 26 Hz ELF-PEMF increased Trap5B activity in OCs. Considering this result, a treatment with gradually increasing frequency might be of interest, as the lower frequency (16 Hz) could enhance bone formation, while the higher frequency (26 Hz) could enhance bone remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number994
Number of pages14
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose Tissue/cytology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alkaline Phosphatase/metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Coculture Techniques/methods
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells/cytology
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoblasts/cytology
  • Osteoclasts/cytology
  • Osteogenesis
  • extremely low frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (ELF-PEMF)
  • primary human osteoblasts (OBs)
  • BONE
  • primary human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (Ad-MSCs)
  • primary human osteoclasts (OCs)

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