Efficiently engineered cell sheet using a complex of polyethylenimine-alginate nanocomposites plus bone morphogenetic protein 2 gene to promote new bone formation.
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Regeneration of large bone defects is a common clinical problem. Recently, stem cell sheet has been an emerging strategy in bone tissue engineering. To enhance the osteogenic potential of stem cell sheet, we fabricated bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) gene-engineered cell sheet using a complex of polyethylenimine-alginate (PEI-al) nanocomposites plus human BMP-2 complementary(c)DNA plasmid, and studied its osteogenesis in vitro and in vivo. PEI-al nanocomposites carrying BMP-2 gene could efficiently transfect bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. The cell sheet was made by culturing the cells in medium containing vitamin C for 10 days. Assays on the cell culture showed that the genetically engineered cells released the BMP-2 for at least 14 days. The expression of osteogenesis-related gene was increased, which demonstrated that released BMP-2 could effectively induce the cell sheet osteogenic differentiation in vitro. To further test the osteogenic potential of the cell sheet in vivo, enhanced green fluorescent protein or BMP-2-producing cell sheets were treated on the cranial bone defects. The results indicated that the BMP-2-producing cell sheet group was more efficient than other groups in promoting bone formation in the defect area. Our results suggested that PEI-al nanocomposites efficiently deliver the BMP-2 gene to bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and that BMP-2 gene-engineered cell sheet is an effective way for promoting bone regeneration.