Thermoresponsive Citrate-Based Graphene Oxide Scaffold Enhances Bone Regeneration from BMP9-Stimulated Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2018 Aug 13;4(8):2943-2955. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.8b00179. Epub 2018 Jun 7.


Effective bone tissue engineering is important to overcome the unmet clinical challenges as more than 1.6 million bone grafts are done annually in the United States. Successful bone tissue engineering needs minimally three critical constituents: osteoprogenitor cells, osteogenic factors, and osteoinductive/osteoconductive scaffolds. Osteogenic progenitors are derived from multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can be prepared from numerous tissue sources, including adipose tissue. We previously showed that BMP9 is the most osteogenic BMP and induces robust bone formation of immortalized mouse adipose-derived MSCs entrapped in a citrate-based thermoresponsive hydrogel referred to as PPCNg. As graphene and its derivatives emerge as promising biomaterials, here we develop a novel thermosensitive and injectable hybrid material by combining graphene oxide (GO) with PPCNg (designated as GO-P) and characterize its ability to promote bone formation. We demonstrate that the thermoresponsive behavior of the hybrid material is maintained while effectively supporting MSC survival and proliferation. Furthermore, GO-P induces early bone-forming marker alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and potentiates BMP9-induced expression of osteogenic regulators and bone markers as well as angiogenic factor VEGF in MSCs. In vivo studies show BMP9-transduced MSCs entrapped in the GO-P scaffold form well-mineralized and highly vascularized trabecular bone. Thus, these results indicate that GO-P hybrid material may function as a new biocompatible, injectable scaffold with osteoinductive and osteoconductive activities for bone regeneration.

Keywords: BMP9; PPCN; bone tissue engineering; graphene; graphene oxide; mesenchymal stem cells; scaffold; thermoresponsive.