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Nano-hydroxyapatite modulates osteoblast lineage commitment by stimulation of DNA methylation and regulation of gene expression

Ha, Shin-Woo, Jang, Hae Lin, Nam, Ki Tae, Beck, George R.
Biomaterials 2015 v.65 pp. 32-42
DNA methylation, alkaline phosphatase, bioactive properties, coatings, epigenetics, gene expression regulation, genes, hydroxyapatite, mineralization, nanomaterials, osteoblasts, promoter regions, skeleton, teeth
Hydroxyapatite (HA) is the primary structural component of the skeleton and dentition. Under biological conditions, HA does not occur spontaneously and therefore must be actively synthesized by mineralizing cells such as osteoblasts. The mechanism(s) by which HA is actively synthesized by cells and deposited to create a mineralized matrix are not fully understood and the consequences of mineralization on cell function are even less well understood. HA can be chemically synthesized (HAp) and is therefore currently being investigated as a promising therapeutic biomaterial for use as a functional scaffold and implant coating for skeletal repair and dental applications. Here we investigated the biological effects of nano-HAp (10 × 100 nm) on the lineage commitment and differentiation of bone forming osteoblasts. Exposure of early stage differentiating osteoblasts resulted in dramatic and sustained changes in gene expression, both increased and decreased, whereas later stage osteoblasts were much less responsive. Analysis of the promoter region one of the most responsive genes, alkaline phosphatase, identified the stimulation of DNA methylation following cell exposure to nano-HAp. Collectively, the results reveal the novel epigenetic regulation of cell function by nano-HAp which has significant implication on lineage determination as well as identifying a novel potential therapeutic use of nanomaterials.