Glycosaminoglycan mimetric peptide nanofibers promote mineralization by osteogenic cells
Bone tissue regeneration is accomplished by concerted regulation of protein-based extracellular matrix components, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and inductive growth factors. GAGs constitute a significant portion of the extracellular matrix and have a significant impact on regulating cellular behavior, either directly or through encapsulation and presentation of growth factors to the cells. In this study we utilized a supramolecular peptide nanofiber system that can emulate both the nanofibrous architecture of collagenous extracellular matrix and the major chemical composition found on GAGs. GAGs and collagen mimetic peptide nanofibers were designed and synthesized with sulfonate and carboxylate groups on the peptide scaffold. The GAG mimetic peptide nanofibers interact with bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), which is a critical growth factor for osteogenic activity. The GAG mimicking ability of the peptide nanofibers and their interaction with BMP-2 promoted osteogenic activity and mineralization by osteoblastic cells. Alkaline phosphatase activity, Alizarin red staining and energy dispersive X-ray analysis spectroscopy indicated the efficacy of the peptide nanofibers in inducing mineralization. The multifunctional and bioactive microenvironment presented here provides osteoblastic cells with osteogenic stimuli similar to those observed in native bone tissue.