Engineering the osteochondral junction requires fabrication of a microenvironment that supports both osteogenesis and chondrogenesis. Multiphasic scaffold strategies utilizing a combination of soluble factors and extracellular matrix components are ideally suited for such applications. In this work, the contribution of an osteogenic nanoparticulate mineralized glycosaminoglycan scaffold (MC-GAG) and a dually chondrogenic and osteogenic growth factor, BMP-9, in the differentiation of primary human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) is evaluated. Although 2D cultures demonstrate alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralization of hMSCs induced by BMP-9, MC-GAG scaffolds do not demonstrate significant differences in the collagen I expression, osteopontin expression, or mineralization. Instead, BMP-9 increases expression of collagen II, Sox9, aggrecan (ACAN), and cartilage oligomeric protein. However, the hypertrophic chondrocyte marker, collagen X, is not elevated with BMP-9 treatment. In addition, histologic analyses demonstrate that while BMP-9 does not increase mineralization, BMP-9 treatment results in an increase of sulfated glycosaminoglycans. Thus, the combination of BMP-9 and MC-GAG stimulates chondrocytic and osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs.
Engineering the bone cartilage junction in joints requires differentiation of multiple cell types within a common space. Herein, primary human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) on an osteogenic nanoparticulate mineralized collagen glycosaminoglycan (MC-GAG) scaffold are differentiated. It is demonstrated that the combination of BMP-9 and MC-GAG induces hMSCs to undergo both chondrogenic and osteogenic differentiation simultaneously without an expression of hypertrophic chondrocyte markers.