Electrical Stimulation of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in 3D Nanofibrillar Cellulose Increases Their Osteogenic Potential

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Bicer M., Sheard J., Iandolo D., Boateng S. Y., Cottrell G. S., Widera D.

BIOMOLECULES, vol.10, no.12, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/biom10121696
  • Journal Name: BIOMOLECULES
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: electrical stimulation, osteogenic differentiation, adipose-derived stem cells, 3D cell culture, nanofibrillar cellulose, DIFFERENTIATION, SCAFFOLDS, PROLIFERATION, PHOSPHATE, THERAPY, CULTURE
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: No


Due to the ageing population, there is a steadily increasing incidence of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures. As conventional pharmacological therapy options for osteoporosis are often associated with severe side effects, bone grafts are still considered the clinical gold standard. However, the availability of viable, autologous bone grafts is limited making alternative cell-based strategies a promising therapeutic alternative. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are a readily available population of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) that can be isolated within minimally invasive surgery. This ease of availability and their ability to undergo osteogenic differentiation makes ASCs promising candidates for cell-based therapies for bone fractures. Recent studies have suggested that both exposure to electrical fields and cultivation in 3D can positively affect osteogenic potential of MSCs. To elucidate the osteoinductive potential of a combination of these biophysical cues on ASCs, cells were embedded within anionic nanofibrillar cellulose (aNFC) hydrogels and exposed to electrical stimulation (ES) for up to 21 days. ES was applied to ASCs in 2D and 3D at a voltage of 0.1 V/cm with a duration of 0.04 ms, and a frequency of 10 Hz for 30 min per day. Exposure of ASCs to ES in 3D resulted in high alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and in an increased mineralisation evidenced by Alizarin Red S staining. Moreover, ES in 3D aNFC led to an increased expression of the osteogenic markers osteopontin and osteocalcin and a rearrangement and alignment of the actin cytoskeleton. Taken together, our data suggest that a combination of ES with 3D cell culture can increase the osteogenic potential of ASCs. Thus, exposure of ASCs to these biophysical cues might improve the clinical outcomes of regenerative therapies in treatment of osteoporotic fractures.