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Tissue Eng. 2006 Oct;12(10):2889-903.

Gene expression profiling reveals platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha as a target of cell contact-dependent gene regulation in an endothelial cell-osteoblast co-culture model.

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Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery, University of Freiburg Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany.


Angiogenesis plays an important role in bone development, repair, and remodelling. Neovascularization is furthermore a crucial step in bone tissue engineering because implantation of voluminous grafts without sufficient vascularity results in hypoxic cell death of the engineered tissue. We have previously described a co-cultivation system of human primary osteoblasts and human primary endothelial cells that was developed to improve neovascularization in bone tissue-engineering applications. In our present study, we have performed complementary deoxyribonucleic acid microarray analysis to analyze putative changes in osteoblastic gene expression upon co-cultivation of osteoblasts and endothelial cells. Transcriptional profiling revealed upregulation of 79 genes and downregulation of 62 genes in osteoblasts after co-cultivation with endothelial cells. To verify the microarray data, quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was carried out on selected genes. The expression of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha gene in osteoblasts was analyzed in more detail, revealing that a cell contact-dependent mechanism, and not paracrine-acting diffusible factors, mediates the downregulation of this receptor in osteoblasts upon co-cultivation with endothelial cells. In summary, the data demonstrate complex gene-regulation mechanisms between endothelial cells and osteoblasts that are likely to play a role in bone morphogenesis.

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