Osteogenic potential of heterogeneous and CD271-enriched mesenchymal stromal cells cultured on apatite-wollastonite 3D scaffolds

Sylvia Müller, Lyndsey Nicholson, Naif Al Harbi, Elena Mancuso, Elena Jones, Anne Dickinson, Xiao Nong Wang, K.W. Dalgarno

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Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are widely used in clinical trials for bone repair and regeneration. Despite previous evidence showing a prominent osteogenic potential of 2D cultured CD271 enriched MSCs, the osteogenic potential of CD271 enriched cells cultured on 3D scaffold is unknown. Apatite-wollastonite glass ceramic (A-W) is an osteoconductive biomaterial shown to be compatible with MSCs. This is the first study comparing the attachment, growth kinetics, and osteogenic potential of two MSC populations, namely heterogeneous plastic adherence MSCs (PA-MSCs) and CD271-enriched MSCs (CD271-MSCs), when cultured on A-W 3D scaffold.

The paired MSC populations were assessed for their attachment, growth kinetics and ALP activity using confocal and scanning electron microscopy and the quantifications of DNA contents and p-nitrophenyl (pNP) production respectively. While the PA-MSCs and CD271-MSCs had similar expansion and tri-lineage differentiation capacity during standard 2D culture, they showed different proliferation kinetics when seeded on the A-W scaffolds. PA-MSCs displayed a well-spread attachment with more elongated morphology compared to CD271-MSCs, signifying a different level of interaction between the cell populations and the scaffold surface. Following scaffold seeding PA-MSCs fully integrated into the scaffold surface and showed a stronger propensity for osteogenic differentiation as indicated by higher ALP activity than CD271-MSCs. Furthermore, A-W scaffold seeded uncultured non-enriched bone marrow mononuclear cells also demonstrated a higher proliferation rate and greater ALP activity compared to their CD271-enriched counterpart.

Our findings suggest that CD271-positive enrichment of a population is not beneficial for osteogenesis when the cells are seeded on A-W scaffold. Furthermore, unselected heterogeneous MSCs or BM-MNCs are more promising for A-W scaffold based bone regeneration. This leads to a conclusion of broader clinical relevance for tissue engineering: on the basis of our observations here the osteogenic potential observed in 2D cell culture should not be considered indicative of likely performance in a 3D scaffold based system, even when one of the cell populations is effectively a subset of the other.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Biomedical Engineering
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Jun 2019


  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • CD271 enrichment
  • Apatite-wollastonite glass ceramic 3D scaffold
  • Osteogenic regeneration


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