Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) are considered a great promise in the repair and regeneration of bone. Considerable efforts have been oriented towards uncovering the best strategy to promote stem cells osteogenic differentiation. In previous studies, hBM-MSCs exposed to physical stimuli such as pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) or directly seeded on nanostructured titanium surfaces (TiO2) were shown to improve their differentiation to osteoblasts in osteogenic condition. In the present study, the effect of a daily PEMF-exposure on osteogenic differentiation of hBM-MSCs seeded onto nanostructured TiO2 (with clusters under 100 nm of dimension) was investigated. TiO2-seeded cells were exposed to PEMF (magnetic field intensity: 2 mT; intensity of induced electric field: 5 mV; frequency: 75 Hz) and examined in terms of cell physiology modifications and osteogenic differentiation. Results showed that PEMF exposure affected TiO2-seeded cells osteogenesis by interfering with selective calcium-related osteogenic pathways, and greatly enhanced hBM-MSCs osteogenic features such as the expression of early/late osteogenic genes and protein production (e.g., ALP, COL-I, osteocalcin and osteopontin) and ALP activity. Finally, PEMF-treated cells resulted to secrete into conditioned media higher amounts of BMP-2, DCN and COL-I than untreated cell cultures. These findings confirm once more the osteoinductive potential of PEMF, suggesting that its combination with TiO2 nanostructured surface might be a great option in bone tissue engineering applications.
This study was supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo to CU, an INAIL grant entitled “Effetti dei campi elettromagnetici sulla salute umana: modelli sperimentali in vitro” (2011), COST Action grant BM1309 EMF-MED “European network for innovative uses of EMFs in biomedical applications” (2014–2019), and a COST Action grant MODENA TD 1204, “Modelling Nanomaterial Toxicity” (2012–2016).