Pleiotrophin-Loaded Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles as a Possible Treatment for Osteoporosis

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Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease. Conventional treatments are based on the use of antiresorptive drugs and/or anabolic agents. However, these treatments have certain limitations, such as a lack of bioavailability or toxicity in non-specific tissues. In this regard, pleiotrophin (PTN) is a protein with potent mitogenic, angiogenic, and chemotactic activity, with implications in tissue repair. On the other hand, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) have proven to be an effective inorganic drug-delivery system for biomedical applications. In addition, the surface anchoring of cationic polymers, such as polyethylenimine (PEI), allows for greater cell internalization, increasing treatment efficacy. In order to load and release the PTN to improve its effectiveness, MSNs were successfully internalized in MC3T3-E1 mouse pre-osteoblastic cells and human mesenchymal stem cells. PTN-loaded MSNs significantly increased the viability, mineralization, and gene expression of alkaline phosphatase and Runx2 in comparison with the PTN alone in both cell lines, evidencing its positive effect on osteogenesis and osteoblast differentiation. This proof of concept demonstrates that MSN can take up and release PTN, developing a potent osteogenic and differentiating action in vitro in the absence of an osteogenic differentiation-promoting medium, presenting itself as a possible treatment to improve bone-regeneration and osteoporosis scenarios.