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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2011 Jan;108(1):163-74. doi: 10.1002/bit.22925.

High-throughput screening of a small molecule library for promoters and inhibitors of mesenchymal stem cell osteogenic differentiation.

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Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, 240 Skirkanich Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


The use of high-throughput screening (HTS) techniques has long been employed by the pharmaceutical industry to increase discovery rates for new drugs that could be useful for disease treatment, yet this technology has only been minimally applied in other applications such as in tissue regeneration. In this work, an assay for the osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) was developed and used to screen a library of small molecules for their potential as either promoters or inhibitors of osteogenesis, based on levels of alkaline phosphatase activity and cellular viability. From a library of 1,040 molecules, 36 promoters, and 20 inhibitors were identified as hits based on statistical criteria. Osteopromoters from this library were further investigated using standard culture techniques and a wider range of outcomes to verify that these compounds drive cellular differentiation. Several hits led to some improvement in the expression of alkaline phosphatase, osteogenic gene expression, and matrix mineralization by hMSCs when compared to the standard dexamethasone supplemented media and one molecule was investigated in combination with a recently identified biodegradable and osteoconductive polymer. This work illustrates the ability of HTS to more rapidly identify potential molecules to control stem cell differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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