Mesenchymal stem cells from human bone marrow (hBM-MSC) are widely utilized for clinical applications involving bone healing. In this context, their use has been often optimized in association to variously designed titanium substrates, being this material of great use in orthopaedic implants.
According to recent findings, the ability of hBM-MSC to differentiate towards a specific lineage is not only driven by biochemical signals, but physical stimuli, such as rigidity or roughness of the substrate, can also support a commitment towards osteogenic differentiation. Moreover, the presence of features with defined dimensional scales, in particular nanometer-size, also proved to elicit specific biological effects. Here we evaluated the effectiveness of a nano-patterned titanium surface in sustaining hBM-MSC adhesion, growth and differentiation by means of a panel of biophysical tools: morphometry, electrophysiology, intracellular calcium measurements and immunocytochemistry. The results substantiate the idea that this micro-textured titanium dioxide is a good surface for growth and differentiation of hBM-MSC and it exhibits a stimulating action mainly in the initial period of differentiation. Moreover, the basal concentration of free cytosolic Calcium [Ca2+]i is confirmed to be a good hallmark of the hBM-MSC maturation stage. The study could provide relevant hints to help improving the biocompatibility and osteointegration potential of clinical titanium implants.