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An In Vitro Mechanism Study on the Proliferation and Pluripotency of Human Embryonic Stems Cells in Response to Magnesium Degradation

posted Nov 30, 2013, 6:41 PM by Huinan Liu   [ updated Nov 30, 2013, 6:47 PM ]
Nguyen TY*, Liew CG, Liu H (2013) An In Vitro Mechanism Study on the Proliferation and Pluripotency of Human Embryonic Stems Cells in Response to Magnesium Degradation. PLoS ONE 8(10): e76547. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076547

Magnesium (Mg) is a promising biodegradable metallic material for applications in cellular/tissue engineering and biomedical implants/devices. To advance clinical translation of Mg-based biomaterials, we investigated the effects and mechanisms of Mg degradation on the proliferation and pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). We used hESCs as the in vitro model system to study cellular responses to Mg degradation because they are sensitive to toxicants and capable of differentiating into any cell types of interest for regenerative medicine. In a previous study when hESCs were cultured in vitro with either polished metallic Mg (99.9% purity) or pre-degraded Mg, cell death was observed within the first 30 hours of culture. Excess Mg ions and hydroxide ions induced by Mg degradation may have been the causes for the observed cell death; hence, their respective effects on hESCs were investigated for the first time to reveal the potential mechanisms. For this purpose, the mTeSR®1 hESC culture media was either modified to an alkaline pH of 8.1 or supplemented with 0.4–40 mM of Mg ions. We showed that the initial increase of media pH to 8.1 had no adverse effect on hESC proliferation. At all tested Mg ion dosages, the hESCs grew to confluency and retained pluripotency as indicated by the expression of OCT4, SSEA3, and SOX2. When the supplemental Mg ion dosages increased to greater than 10 mM, however, hESC colony morphology changed and cell counts decreased. These results suggest that Mg-based implants or scaffolds are promising in combination with hESCs for regenerative medicine applications, providing their degradation rate is moderate. Additionally, the hESC culture system could serve as a standard model for cytocompatibility studies of Mg in vitro, and an identified 10 mM critical dosage of Mg ions could serve as a design guideline for safe degradation of Mg-based implants/scaffolds.