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Graphene/single-walled carbon nanotube hybrids promoting osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells by activating p38 signaling pathway

Authors Yan XX, Yang W, Shao ZW, Yang SH, Liu XZ

Received 22 June 2016

Accepted for publication 13 September 2016

Published 20 October 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 5473—5484

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S115468

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun


Xinxin Yan,1,2 Wen Yang,3 Zengwu Shao,1 Shuhua Yang,1 Xianzhe Liu1

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wuhan Third Hospital, 3Department of Anesthesiology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Carbon nanomaterials are becoming increasingly significant in biomedical fields since they exhibit exceptional physicochemical and biocompatible properties. Today, the stem cells offer potentially new therapeutic approaches in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. However, the induction of differentiation into specific lineages remains challenging, which provoked us to explore the biomedical applications of carbon nanomaterials in stem cells. In this study, we investigated the interactions between graphene/single-walled carbon nanotube (G/SWCNT) hybrids and rat mesenchymal stem cells (rMSCs) and focused on the proliferation and differentiation of rMSCs treated with G/SWCNT hybrids. Cell viability and morphology were evaluated using cell counting kit-8 assay and immunofluorescence staining, respectively. Osteogenic differentiation evaluated by alkaline phosphatase activity of MSCs proved to be higher after treatment with G/SWCNT hybrids, and the mineralized matrix nodule formation was also enhanced. In addition, the expression levels of osteogenic-associated genes were upregulated, while the adipocyte-specific markers were downregulated. Consistent with these results, we illustrated that the effect of G/SWCNT hybrids on the process of osteogenic differentiation of rMSCs can be modulated by activating the p38 signaling pathway and inhibiting the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 pathway. Nevertheless, our study suggests that carbon nanomaterials offer a promising platform for regenerative medicine in the near future.

Keywords: carbon-based nanomaterials, 3D nanostructure, stem cell therapy, bone formation

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