Transcript-Activated Coatings on Titanium Mediate Cellular Osteogenesis for Enhanced Osteointegration

Omnia Fayed, Martijn van Griensven, Zeinab Tahmasebi Birgani, Christian Plank, Elizabeth R Balmayor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Osteointegration is one of the most important factors for implant success. Several biomolecules have been used as part of drug delivery systems to improve implant integration into the surrounding bone tissue. Chemically modified mRNA (cmRNA) is a new form of therapeutic that has been used to induce bone healing. Combined with biomaterials, cmRNA can be used to develop transcript-activated matrices for local protein production with osteoinductive potential. In this study, we aimed to utilize this technology to create bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) transcript-activated coatings for titanium (Ti) implants. Therefore, different coating methodologies as well as cmRNA incorporation strategies were evaluated. Three different biocompatible biomaterials were used for the coating of Ti, namely, poly-d,l-lactic acid (PDLLA), fibrin, and fibrinogen. cmRNA-coated Ti disks were assayed for transfection efficiency, cmRNA release, cell viability and proliferation, and osteogenic activity in vitro. We found that cmRNA release was significantly delayed in Ti surfaces previously coated with biomaterials. Consequently, the transfection efficiency was greatly improved. PDLLA coating improved the transfection efficiency in a concentration-dependent manner. Lower PDLLA concentration used for the coating of Ti resulted in higher transfection efficiency. Fibrin and fibrinogen coatings showed even higher transfection efficiencies compared to all PDLLA concentrations. In those disks, not only the expression was up to 24-fold higher but also the peak of maximal expression was delayed from 24 h to 5 days, and the duration of expression was also extended until 7 days post-transfection. For fibrin, higher transfection efficiencies were obtained in the coatings with the lowest thrombin amounts. Accordingly, fibrinogen coatings gave the best results in terms of cmRNA transfection. All biomaterial-coated Ti surfaces showed improved cell viability and proliferation, though this was more noticeable in the fibrinogen-coated disks. The latter was also the only coating to support significant amounts of BMP2 produced by C2C12 cells in vitro. Osteogenesis was confirmed using BMP2 cmRNA fibrinogen-coated Ti disks, and it was dependent of the cmRNA amount present. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of C2C12 increased when using fibrinogen coatings containing 250 ng of cmRNA or more. Similarly, mineralization was also observed that increased with increasing cmRNA concentration. Overall, our results support fibrinogen as an optimal material to deliver cmRNA from titanium-coated surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1137
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • bone regeneration
  • chemically modified mRNA
  • fibrin
  • fibrinogen
  • implants
  • transcript-activated matrix
  • BMP-2


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