Despite the high intrinsic ability of bone tissue to regenerate, bone healing fails in some pathological conditions and especially in the presence of large defects. Due to the strong relationship between bone development and vascularization during in vivo bone formation and repair, strategies promoting the osteogenic-angiogenic coupling are crucial for regenerative medicine. Increasing evidence shows that miRNAs play important roles in controlling osteogenesis and bone vascularization and are important tool in medical research although their clinical use still needs to optimize miRNA stability and delivery. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) have been successfully used to enhance bone repair and their clinical activity has been associated to their ability to promote the osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). In this study we investigated the potential ability of PEMF exposure to modulate selected miRNAs involved in the osteogenic differentiation of human bone mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs). We show that, during in vitro hBMSC differentiation, PEMFs up-modulate the expression of miR-26a and miR-29b, which favor osteogenic differentiation, and decrease miR-125b which acts as an inhibitor miRNA. As PEMFs promote the expression and release of miRNAs also involved in angiogenesis, we conclude that PEMFs may represent a noninvasive and safe strategy to modulate miRNAs with relevant roles in bone repair and with the potential to regulate the osteogenic-angiogenic coupling.
Keywords: Bone repair; Human bone mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs); Osteogenic differentiation; Osteogenic-angiogenic coupling; Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF); miRNAs.