Combinatorial incorporation of fluoride and cobalt ions into calcium phosphates to stimulate osteogenesis and angiogenesis

Zeinab Tahmasebi Birgani, Nazli Gharraee, Angad Malhotra, Clemens A. van Blitterswijk, Pamela Habibovic*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Bone healing requires two critical mechanisms, angiogenesis and osteogenesis. In order to improve bone graft substitutes, both mechanisms should be addressed simultaneously. While the individual effects of various bioinorganics have been studied, an understanding of the combinatorial effects is lacking. Cobalt and fluoride ions, in appropriate concentrations, are known to individually favor the vascularization and mineralization processes, respectively. This study investigated the potential of using a combination of fluoride and cobalt ions to simultaneously promote osteogenesis and angiogenesis in human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs). Using a two-step biomimetic method, wells of tissue culture plates were coated with a calcium phosphate (CaP) layer without or with the incorporation of cobalt, fluoride, or both. In parallel, hMSCs were cultured on uncoated well plates, and cultured with cobalt and/or fluoride ions within the media. The results revealed that cobalt ions increased the expression of angiogenic markers, with the effects being stronger when the ions were added as a dissolved salt in cell medium as compared to incorporation into CaP. Cobalt ions generally suppressed the ALP activity, the expression of osteogenic genes, and the level of mineralization, regardless of delivery method. Fluoride ions, individually or in combination with cobalt, significantly increased the expression of many of the selected osteogenic markers, as well as mineral deposition. This study demonstrates an approach to simultaneously target the two essential mechanisms in bone healing: angiogenesis and osteogenesis. The incorporation of cobalt and fluoride into CaPs is a promising method to improve the biological performance of fully synthetic bone graft substitutes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number015020
JournalBiomedical Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • bone graft substitute
  • bioinorganic
  • calcium phosphate
  • osteogenesis
  • angiogenesis
  • human mesenchymal stromal cell
  • bone

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