Matrix vesicles: Role in bone mineralization and potential use as therapeutics

Sana Ansari, Bregje W. M. de Wildt, Michelle A. M. Vis, Carolina E. de Korte, Keita Ito, Sandra Hofmann and Yuana Yuana

Published: April 2021


Bone is a complex organ maintained by three main cell types: osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes. During bone formation, osteoblasts deposit a mineralized organic matrix. Evidence shows that bone cells release extracellular vesicles (EVs): nano-sized bilayer vesicles, which are involved in intercellular communication by delivering their cargoes through protein–ligand interactions or fusion to the plasma membrane of the recipient cell. Osteoblasts shed a subset of EVs known as matrix vesicles (MtVs), which contain phosphatases, calcium, and inorganic phosphate. These vesicles are believed to have a major role in matrix mineralization, and they feature bone-targeting and osteo-inductive properties. Understanding their contribution in bone formation and mineralization could help to target bone pathologies or bone regeneration using novel approaches such as stimulating MtV secretion in vivo, or the administration of in vitro or biomimetically produced MtVs. This review attempts to discuss the role of MtVs in biomineralization and their potential application for bone pathologies and bone regeneration.

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