Raman spectroscopic monitoring of the osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells

L L McManus, GA Burke, A Boyd, BJ Meenan, P O'Hare, M McCafferty, M Modreanu

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The differentiation of stem cells into multi-lineages is essential to aid the development of tissue engineered materials that replicate the functionality of their tissue of origin. For this study, Raman spectroscopy was used to monitor the formation of a bone-like apatite mineral during the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) towards an osteogenic lineage. Raman spectroscopy observed dramatic changes in the region dominated by the stretching of phosphate groups (950–970 cm-1) during the period of 7–28 days. Changes were also seen at 1030 cm-1 and 1070 cm-1, which are associated with the P–O symmetric stretch of PO43- and the C–O vibration in the plane stretch of CO32-. Multivariate factor analysis revealed the presence of various mineral species throughout the 28 day culture period. Bone mineral formation was observed first at day 14 and was identified as a crystalline, non-substituted apatite. During the later stages of culture, different mineral species were observed, namely an amorphous apatite and a carbonate, substituted apatite, all of which are known to be Raman markers for a bone-like material. Band area ratios revealed that both the carbonate-to-phosphate and mineral-to-matrix ratios increased with age. When taken together, these findings suggest that the osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs at early stages resembles endochondral ossification. Due to the various mineral species observed, namely a disordered amorphous apatite, a B-type carbonate-substituted apatite and a crystalline non-substituted hydroxyapatite, it is suggested that the bone-like mineral observed here can be compared to native bone. This work demonstrates the successful application of Raman spectroscopy combined with biological and multivariate analyses for monitoring the various mineral species, degree of mineralisation and the crystallinity of hMSCs as they differentiate into osteoblasts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2471-2481
JournalThe Analyst
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2011


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