From cell to bone: In osteogenesis, vitronectin matters

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We have, in the past, introduced fibronectin’s less known extracellular matrix sibling, vitronectin. While vitronectin traditionally doesn’t get as much press, its function warrants just as much attention. New studies – and new work from our labs – prompted us to highlight some of vitronectin’s important roles in cell adhesion, migration and differentiation and highlight its critical role in tissue regeneration.

We are not the only ones to tout its important cellular functions: Not only is vitronectin important in differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into large-scale motor neurons (Qu et al., Nature Comm, 5(3349), 2014), but it has significant implications in tissue engineered products, particularly regenerative orthopedics.

Case in point: Mesenchymal stem cells, owing to their good differentiation potential towards cartilage, tendon and bone cells, are critical cellular components in orthopedic implants. Indeed, interactions between mesenchymal stem cells and implants are critically important for successful osteointegration. At the heart of this process is successful cell adhesion to the implant, which includes binding of ligands from the extracellular matrix, one of them being vitronectin. Vitronectin is one of the important ECM biomimetic signals, together with fibronectin and osteocalcin, that is thought to promote cell survival during the osteogenesis process.

That is why vitronectin is often found as a critical component of osteogenesis differentiation media.  Yet not all vitronectins are created equal: optimal activity is achieved with pure vitronectin in its fully active form.

So where do you start? At Akron, we are constantly improving our vitronectin manufacturing process to deliver the best possible product. From supplying human vitronectin to developing biological assays, we provide support and know-how across the entire development process. Contact us and let’s talk.

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