Bioactive glasses synthesized by the sol-gel technique possess many of the qualities associated with an ideal scaffold material for a bone graft substitute. In view of the potential clinical applications, we performed a detailed in vitro study of the biological reactivity of synthesized 58S bioactive glass containing-zinc, in terms of osteoblast morphology, proliferation, and deposition of a mineralized extracellular matrix (ECM). Human Sarcoma Osteoblast (SAOS-2) cells were used to i) assess cytotoxicity by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and ii) evaluate the deposition of a calcified extracellular matrix by ELISA assay and quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). In comparison with pure silica and 58S, the 58S-Zn0.4 bioglass showed a significant increase in cellular proliferation and deposition of ECM components such as decorin, fibronectin, osteocalcin, osteonectin, osteopontin, type-I and -III collagens. Calcium deposition was significantly higher than on pure silica and 58S samples. Also Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and its protein content was higher with respect to pure silica and 58S. qRT-PCR analysis revealed the up-regulation of type-I collagen, bone sialoprotein and osteopontin genes. All together these results demonstrate the cytocompatibility of 58S-Zn0.4 bioglass and its capability to promote osteoblast differentiation.
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