Osteogenic Potency of Nacre on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells

  • Green, David W. (Oral Biosciences, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong) ;
  • Kwon, Hyuk-Jae (Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center) ;
  • Jung, Han-Sung (Oral Biosciences, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong)
  • Received : 2014.11.14
  • Accepted : 2014.11.20
  • Published : 2015.03.31


Nacre seashell is a natural osteoinductive biomaterial with strong effects on osteoprogenitors, osteoblasts, and osteoclasts during bone tissue formation and morphogenesis. Although nacre has shown, in one study, to induce bridging of new bone across large non-union bone defects in 8 individual human patients, there have been no succeeding human surgical studies to confirm this outstanding potency. But the molecular mechanisms associated with nacre osteoinduction and the influence on bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC's), skeletal stem cells or bone marrow stromal cells remain elusive. In this study we highlight the phenotypic and biochemical effects of Pinctada maxima nacre chips and the global nacre soluble protein matrix (SPM) on primary human bone marrow-derived stromal cells (hBMSCs) in vitro. In static co-culture with nacre chips, the hBMSCs secreted Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) at levels that exceeded bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP-2) treatment. Concentrated preparation of SPM applied to Stro-1 selected hBMSC's led to rapid ALP secretions, at concentrations exceeding the untreated controls even in osteogenic conditions. Within 21 days the same population of Stro-1 selected hBMSCs proliferated and secreted collagens I-IV, indicating the premature onset of an osteoblast phenotype. The same SPM was found to promote unselected hBMSC differentiation with osteocalcin detected at 7 days, and proliferation increased at 7 days in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, nacre particles and nacre SPM induced the early stages of human bone cell differentiation, indicating that they may be promising soluble factors with osteoinductive capacity in primary human bone cell progenitors such as, hBMSC's.


bone morphogenetic protein;human bone marrow stromal cells;mesenchymal stem cells;nacre;nacre soluble matrix proteins;osteoinduction


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea


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