ABSTRACT Porous polyethylene (PP or Medpor®) is an alloplastic material used worldwide for craniofacial reconstruction. Although several clinical studies are available, how this material alters osteoblast activity to promote bone formation is poorly understood. To study how PP can induce osteoblast differentiation in mesenchymal stem cells, the expression levels of bone related genes and mesenchymal stem cells marker were analyzed, using real time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction. PP causes induction of osteoblast transcriptional factor RUNX2 and of the bone related genes osteocalcin (BGLAP) and alkaline phosphatase (ALPL). In contrast the expression of ENG was decreased in stem cells treated with PP respect to untreated cells, indicating the differentiation effect of this biomaterial on stem cells. The obtained results can be relevant to better understand the molecular mechanism of bone regeneration and as a model for comparing other materials with similar clinical effects.
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