Independent effects of the chemical and microstructural surface properties of polymer/ceramic composites on proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of human MSCs

Lanying Sun, Charlene B. Danoux, Qibao Wang, Daniel Pereira, David Barata, Jingwei Zhang, Vanessa LaPointe, Roman Truckenmuller, Chongyun Bao, Xin Xu, Pamela Habibovic*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Within the general aim of finding affordable and sustainable regenerative solutions for damaged and diseased tissues and organs, significant efforts have been invested in developing synthetic alternatives to natural bone grafts, such as autografts. Calcium phosphate (CaP) ceramics are among widely used synthetic bone graft substitutes, but their mechanical properties and bone regenerative capacity are still outperformed by their natural counterparts. In order to improve the existing synthetic bone graft substitutes, it is imperative to understand the effects of their individual properties on a biological response, and to find a way to combine the desired properties into new, improved functional biomaterials. To this end, we studied the independent effects of the chemical composition and surface microstructure of a poly(lactic acid)/hydroxyapatite (PLA/HA) composite material on the proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of clinically relevant bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs). While the molecular weight of the polymer and presence/absence of the ceramic phase were used as the chemical variables, a soft embossing technique was used to pattern the surfaces of all materials with either pits or pillars with identical microscale dimensions. The results indicated that, while cell morphology was affected by both the presence and availability of HA and by the surface microstructure, the effect of the latter parameter on cell proliferation was negligible. The osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs, and in particular the expression of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) and osteopontin (OP) were significantly enhanced when cells were cultured on the composite based on low-molecular-weight PLA, as compared to the high-molecular-weight PLA-based composite and the two pure polymers. The OP expression on the low-molecular-weight PLA-based composite was further enhanced when the surface was patterned with pits. Taken together, within this experimental set up, the individual effect of the chemistry, and in particular of the presence of CaP, was more pronounced than the individual effect of the surface microstructure, although their combined effects were, in some cases, synergistic. The approach presented here opens new routes to study the interactions of biomaterials with the biological environment in greater depths, which can serve as a starting point for developing biomaterials with improved bioactivity. Statement of Significance The aim of the this study was to obtain insight into independent effects of the chemical composition and surface microstructure of a poly(lactic acid)/hydroxyapatite (PLA/HA) composite material on the morphology, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of clinically relevant bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs). While the need for synthetic alternatives for natural bone in bone regenerative strategies is rapidly increasing, the clinical performance of synthetic biomaterials needs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-377
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Calcium phosphate
  • Surface microstructure
  • hMSCs
  • Osteogenic differentiation
  • Property-biological response relationship

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