American Chemical Society
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Cells Recognize and Prefer Bone-like Hydroxyapatite: Biochemical Understanding of Ultrathin Mineral Platelets in Bone

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-10-18, 00:00 authored by Cuilian Liu, Halei Zhai, Zhisen Zhang, Yaling Li, Xurong Xu, Ruikang Tang
Hydroxyapatite (HAP) nanocrystallites in all types of bones are distinguished by their ultrathin characteristics, which are uniaxially oriented with fibrillar collagen to uniquely expose the (100) faces. We speculate that living organisms prefer the specific crystal morphology and orientation of HAP because of the interactions between cells and crystals at the mineral–cell interface. Here, bone-like platy HAP (p-HAP) and two different rod-like HAPs were synthesized to investigate the ultrathin mineral modulating effect on cell bioactivity and bone generation. Cell viability and osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were significantly promoted by the platy HAP with (100) faces compared to rod-like HAPs with (001) faces as the dominant crystal orientation, which indicated that MSCs can recognize the crystal face and prefer the (100) HAP faces. This face-specific preference is dependent on the selective adsorption of fibronectin (FN), a plasma protein that plays a central role in cell adhesion, on the HAP surface. This selective adsorption is further confirmed by molecule dynamics (MD) simulation. Our results demonstrate that it is an intelligent choice for cells to use ultrathin HAP with a large (100) face as a basic building block in the hierarchical structure of bone, which is crucial to the promotion of MSCs osteoinductions during bone formation.