The shape-effect of calcium phosphate nanoparticle based films on their osteogenic properties

Pichaporn Sutthavas, Pamela Habibovic and Sabine H. van Rijt

Published: 7 March 2021


Calcium phosphates (CaPs) in the form of hydroxyapatite (HA) have been extensively studied in the context of bone regeneration due to their chemical similarity to natural bone mineral. While HA is known to promote osteogenic differentiation, the structural properties of the ceramic have been shown to affect the extent of this effect; several studies have suggested that nanostructured HA can improve the bioactivity. However, the role shape plays in the osteogenic potential is more elusive. Here we studied the effect of HA nanoparticle shape on the ability to induce osteogenesis in human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) by developing nanoparticle films using needle-, rice- and spherical-shaped HA. We showed that the HA films made from all three shapes of nanoparticles induced increased levels of osteogenic markers (i.e. runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteopontin (OPN), osteocalcin (OCN) on protein and gene level in comparison to hMSCs cultured on cover glass slides. Furthermore, their expression levels and profiles differed significantly as a function of nanoparticle shape. We also showed that nanoparticle films were more efficient in inducing osteogenic gene expression in hMSCs compared to adding nanoparticles to hMSCs in culture media. Finally, we demonstrated that hMSC morphology upon adhesion to the HA nanoparticle films is dependent on nanoparticle shape, with hMSCs exhibiting a more spread morphology on needle-shaped nanoparticle films compared to hMSCs seeded on rice- and spherical-shaped nanoparticle films. Our data suggests that HA nanoparticle films are efficient in inducing hMSC osteogenesis in basic cell culture conditions and that nanoparticle shape plays a vital role in cell adhesion and morphology and extent of induction of osteogenic differentiation.

Graphical abstract: The shape-effect of calcium phosphate nanoparticle based films on their osteogenic properties

Full Access Link: Biomaterials Science