The osteogenic potential of human adipose-derived stem cells (HADSCs) co-cultured with human osteoblasts (HOBs) using selected HADSCs/HOBs ratios of 1:1, 2:1, and 1:2, respectively, is evaluated. The HADSCs/HOBs were seeded on electrospun three-dimensional poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyric acid] (PHB) blended with bovine-derived hydroxyapatite (BHA). Monocultures of HADSCs and HOBs were used as control groups. The effects of PHB-BHA scaffold on cell proliferation and cell morphology were assessed by AlamarBlue assay and field emission scanning electron microscopy. Cell differentiation, cell mineralization, and osteogenic-related gene expression of co-culture HADSCs/HOBs were examined by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) assay, alizarin Red S assay, and quantitative real time PCR, respectively. The results showed that co-culture of HADSCs/HOBs, 1:1 grown into PHB-BHA promoted better cell adhesion, displayed a significant higher cell proliferation, higher production of ALP, extracellular mineralization and osteogenic-related gene expression of run-related transcription factor, bone sialoprotein, osteopontin, and osteocalcin compared to other co-culture groups. This result also suggests that the use of electrospun PHB-BHA in a co-culture HADSCs/HOBs system may serve as promising approach to facilitate osteogenic differentiation activity of HADSCs through direct cell-to-cell contact with HOBs.
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