04 October 2017

A new method of bone regeneration

Bone fractures will be cured with the help of nanoparticles

"The Attic"

Scientists from the University of Birmingham, University College Dublin and Loughborough University have investigated a way to restore bone tissue using extracellular nanoparticles – vesicles.

Fractures are a serious medical problem. There are 8.9 million fractures from osteoporosis alone per year. Despite the fact that bones are capable of independent recovery, sometimes the body cannot cope with the load and external intervention is required. For example, in cases where too much bone tissue is lost during a fracture or removal of osteosarcoma.

Standard methods of bone regeneration used in clinical practice today can lead to serious complications and even death of the patient. In recent decades, new ways of restoring bone tissue using cell engineering methods have been developed. But they are expensive and face legal and ethical constraints.

Scientists from the UK have proposed an innovative way to restore large volumes of bone tissue, devoid of the limitations inherent in all current methods.

To restore bone tissue, scientists used so–called extracellular vesicles - particles smaller than 200 nanometers. In the body, these particles are formed naturally during the formation of bones.

The experiment used bone marrow stem cells obtained from a young man. First, scientists grew mineralizing osteoblasts, then separated extracellular vesicles from them by centrifugation and placed the vesicles in media with bone marrow stem cells.

The experiment showed that extracellular vesicles directed the differentiation of bone marrow stem cells towards mineralization, that is, stimulated the formation of bone tissue cells from them. At the same time, the amount of bone tissue that was formed when using extracellular vesicles exceeded the modern clinical gold standard – the use of growth factors (bone morphogenetic proteins BMP2).

To control the results, the scientists used two types of media – with mineralizing and non-mineralizing osteoblasts. Vesicles obtained in the environment of non-mineralizing osteoblasts did not enhance the mineralization of tissues, which confirms the regenerating abilities of particles obtained specifically from mineralizing osteoblasts.

The results of the experiment were confirmed by X-ray fluorescence analysis and infrared spectroscopy.

The in vitro study opens up new prospects for the restoration of hard tissues – bones, teeth and cartilage.

The results of the study are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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