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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2012 May;100(5):1097-106. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34058. Epub 2012 Feb 18.

Student Award for Outstanding Research Winner in the Ph.D. Category for the 9th World Biomaterials Congress, Chengdu, China, June 1-5, 2012: The interplay of bone-like extracellular matrix and TNF-α signaling on in vitro osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251, USA.


As an initial step in the development of a bone tissue engineering strategy to rationally control inflammation, we investigated the interplay of bone-like extracellular matrix (ECM) and varying doses of the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) on osteogenically differentiating mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) cultured in vitro on 3D poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) microfiber scaffolds containing pregenerated bone-like ECM. To generate the ECM, PCL scaffolds were seeded with MSCs and cultured in medium containing the typically required osteogenic supplement dexamethasone. However, since dexamethasone antagonizes TNF-α, the interplay of ECM and TNF-α was investigated by culturing naïve MSCs on the decellularized scaffolds in the absence of dexamethasone. MSCs cultured on ECM-coated scaffolds continued to deposit mineralized matrix, a late stage marker of osteogenic differentiation. Mineralized matrix deposition was not adversely affected by exposure to TNF-α for 4-8 days, but was significantly reduced after continuous exposure to TNF-α over 16 days, which simulates the in vivo response, where brief TNF-α signaling stimulates bone regeneration, while prolonged exposure has damaging effects. This underscores the exciting potential of PCL/ECM constructs as a more clinically realistic in vitro culture model to facilitate the design of new bone tissue engineering strategies that rationally control inflammation to promote regeneration.

Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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