Bone cells generated from stem cells by manipulating growth surface
8 March 2013
A new method to generate bone cells could lead to revolutionary
bone repair therapies for people with bone fractures or those who
need hip replacement surgery due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
The research, carried out by Dr Emmajayne Kingham at the
University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of
Glasgow and published in the journal Small, cultured human embryonic
stem cells on to the surface of plastic materials and assessed their
ability to change.
Scientists were able to use the nanotopographical patterns on the
biomedical plastic to manipulate human embryonic stem cells towards
bone cells. This was done without any chemical enhancement.
The materials, including the biomedical implantable material
polycarbonate plastic, which is a versatile plastic used in things
from bullet proof windows to CDs, offer an accessible and cheaper
way of culturing human embryonic stem cells and presents new
opportunities for future medical research in this area.
Professor Richard Oreffo, who led the University of Southampton
team, explains, "To generate bone cells for regenerative medicine
and further medical research remains a significant challenge.
However we have found that by harnessing surface technologies that
allow the generation and ultimately scale up of human embryonic stem
cells to skeletal cells, we can aid the tissue engineering process.
This is very exciting.
"Our research may offer a whole new approach to skeletal
regenerative medicine. The use of nanotopographical patterns could
enable new cell culture designs, new device designs, and could
herald the development of new bone repair therapies as well as
further human stem cell research," Professor Oreffo adds.
This latest discovery expands on the close collaborative work
previously undertaken by the University of Southampton and the
University of Glasgow. In 2011 the team successfully used plastic
with embossed nanopatterns to grow and spread adult stem cells while
keeping their stem cell characteristics; a process which is cheaper
and easier to manufacture than previous ways of working.
Dr Nikolaj Gadegaard, Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems
Biology at the University of Glasgow, says: "Our previous
collaborative research showed exciting new ways to control
mesenchymal stem cell — stem cells from the bone marrow of adults —
growth and differentiation on nanoscale patterns.
"This new Southampton-led discovery shows a totally different
stem cell source, embryonic, also respond in a similar manner and
this really starts to open this new field of discovery up. With more
research impetus, it gives us the hope that we can go on to target a
wider variety of degenerative conditions than we originally aspired
to. This result is of fundamental significance."
Nanotopographical Cues Augment Mesenchymal Differentiation of
Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Emmajayne Kingham, Kate White, Nikolaj
Gadegaard, Matthew J. Dalby, Richard O. C. Oreffo, Article first
published online: 30 Jan 2013 DOI: 10.1002/smll.201202340