Neutrophils Inhibit Synthesis of Mineralized Extracellular Matrix by Human Bone Marrow-Derived Stromal Cells In Vitro

Okan W. Bastian*, Michiel Croes, Jacqueline Alblas, Leo Koenderman, Luke P. H. Leenen, Taco J. Blokhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although controlled local inflammation is essential for adequate bone regeneration, several studies have shown that hyper-inflammatory conditions after major trauma are associated with impaired fracture healing. These hyper-inflammatory conditions include the trauma-induced systemic inflammatory response to major injury, open fractures, and significant injury to the surrounding soft tissues. The current literature suggests that increased or prolonged influx of neutrophils into the fracture hematoma may mediate impairment of bone regeneration after hyper-inflammatory conditions. The underlying mechanism remains unclear. We hypothesize that high neutrophil numbers inhibit synthesis of mineralized extracellular matrix (ECM) by bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs). We therefore studied the effect of increasing concentrations of neutrophils on ECM synthesis by human BMSCs in vitro. Moreover, we determined how high neutrophil concentrations affect BMSC cell counts, as well as BMSC osteogenic activity determined by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) expression and ALP activity. Co-culture of BMSCs with neutrophils induced a 52% decrease in BMSC cell count (p < 0.01), a 64% decrease in the percentage of ALP+ cells (p < 0.001), a 28% decrease in total ALP activity (p < 0.01), and a significant decrease in the amount of mineralized ECM [38% decrease after 4 weeks (p < 0.05)]. Co-cultures with peripheral blood mononuclear cells and neutrophils within transwells did not induce a significant decrease in ALP activity. In conclusion, our data shows that a decreased amount of mineralized ECM became synthesized by BMSCs, when they were co-cultured with high neutrophil concentrations. Moreover, high neutrophil concentrations induced a decrease in BMSC cell counts and decreased ALP activity. Clarifying the underlying mechanism may contribute to development of therapies that augment bone regeneration or prevent impaired fracture healing after hyper-inflammatory conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number945
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • neutrophils
  • bone regeneration
  • fracture healing
  • stromal cells
  • bone marrow stromal cell
  • multipotent stromal cell
  • alkaline phosphatase

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