Zn-Loaded and Calcium Phosphate-Coated Degradable Silica Nanoparticles Can Effectively Promote Osteogenesis in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Pichaporn Sutthavas, Matthias Schumacher, Kai Zheng, Pamela Habibović, Aldo Roberto Boccaccini, Sabine van Rijt

Published: September 2022


Nanoparticles such as mesoporous bioactive glasses (MBGs) and mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) are promising for use in bone regeneration applications due to their inherent bioactivity. Doping silica nanoparticles with bioinorganic ions could further enhance their biological performance. For example, zinc (Zn) is often used as an additive because it plays an important role in bone formation and development. Local delivery and dose control are important aspects of its therapeutic application. In this work, we investigated how Zn incorporation in MSN and MBG nanoparticles impacts their ability to promote human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) osteogenesis and mineralization in vitro. Zn ions were incorporated in three different ways; within the matrix, on the surface or in the mesopores. The nanoparticles were further coated with a calcium phosphate (CaP) layer to allow pH-responsive delivery of the ions. We demonstrate that the Zn incorporation amount and ion release profile affect the nanoparticle’s ability to stimulate osteogenesis in hMSCs. Specifically, we show that the nanoparticles that contain rapid Zn release profiles and a degradable silica matrix were most effective in inducing hMSC differentiation. Moreover, cells cultured in the presence of nanoparticle-containing media resulted in the highest induction of alkaline phosphate (ALP) activity, followed by culturing hMSC on nanoparticles immobilized on the surface as films. Exposure to nanoparticle-conditioned media did not increase ALP activity in hMSCs. In summary, Zn incorporation mode and nanoparticle application play an important role in determining the bioactivity of ion-doped silica nanoparticles.

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