Liposomes embedded with differentiating factors as a new strategy for enhancing DPSC osteogenic commitment

Eur Cell Mater. 2021 Jan 27;41:108-120. doi: 10.22203/eCM.v041a08.

Abstract

Human dental pulp stem cell (DPSC) differentiation toward the osteoblastic phenotype is enhanced when culture media are supplemented with differentiating factors, i.e. ascorbic acid, β-glycerophosphate and dexamethasone. Liposomes, spherical vesicles formed by a phospholipid bilayer, are frequently used as carriers for drugs, growth factors and hydrophobic molecules. The aim of this work was to speed up DPSC commitment to the osteogenic lineage by embedding differentiating factors within liposomes. Firstly, liposomes were prepared by rehydrating a phospholipidic thin film and characterised in terms of dimensions. Secondly, liposome-exposed DPSCs were characterised by their immunophenotypic profile. Levels of CD90 were significantly decreased in the presence of liposomes filled with ascorbic acid, β-glycerophosphate and dexamethasone (Lipo-Mix) with respect to normal differentiation medium (DM), while CD73 and CD29 expression were enhanced, suggesting osteogenic commitment. Additionally, an appreciable extracellular matrix deposition is detected. Thirdly, the Lipo-Mix formulation better increases alkaline phosphatase activity and levels of Collagen I secretion with respect to DM. In parallel, the new liposome formulation is capable of decreasing the release of H2O2 and of triggering a precocious antioxidant cell response, redressing the redox balance required upon mesenchymal stem cell commitment to osteogenesis. It can be therefore hypothesised that Lipo-Mix could represent a suitable tool for clinical regenerative purposes in the field of tissue engineering by speeding up DPSC osteogenic commitment, mineralised matrix deposition and remodelling.