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The identification and characterization of biocompatible materials that augment bone cell proliferation and osteogenic activity have important therapeutic implications in skeletal reconstruction and joint replacement. In the present study, we have examined the effects of three biocements, biocement H, calcium-deficient apatite; biocement F, apatite + CaHPO(4); biocement D, carbonated apatite + CaHPO(4) + CaCO(3) and an amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) proposed as implant fixing materials, on the growth, differentiation, and cell surface interaction of human bone marrow fibroblastic cells. These cells are known to be progenitors of osteoblasts, chondroblasts, adipocytes, myoblasts, and reticulocytes. Alkaline phosphatase enzyme activity, a marker of the osteoblast phenotype, was increased by a factor of two- to sixfold on carbonated apatite, one- to sixfold on apatite and three- to 10-fold on calcium-deficient apatite, over levels observed on plastic. Cell proliferation was significantly reduced. Photomicroscopic examination indicated high biocompatibility with close adhesion of the bone marrow fibroblastic cells to composites D, F, and H. Longer term marrow cultures (15 days) confirmed the stimulation of cell differentiation, as assessed by collagen production, over cell proliferation, of cells grown on carbonated apatite. Enhanced osteoblastic differentiation was observed on a 70% carbonated apatite, which has a composition similar to bone mineral, whereas cell toxicity was observed on cells grown on amorphous calcium phosphate. This in vitro human bone marrow fibroblast culture system provides a simple and effective method for the evaluation of new biomaterials. The development of these novel cements may be of potential use in orthopedic implants.

Original publication




Journal article


Tissue eng

Publication Date





293 - 303


Alkaline Phosphatase, Biomarkers, Bone Cements, Bone Marrow Cells, Calcium Phosphates, Cell Adhesion, Cell Differentiation, Durapatite, Fibroblasts, Humans, Osteoblasts, Stromal Cells