ABSTRACT: Cell cultures are often used to study bone mineralization; however, not all systems achieve a bone-like matrix formation. In this study, the mineralized matrix assembled in F-OST osteoblast cultures was analyzed, with the aim of establishing a novel model for bone mineralization. The ultrastructure of the cultures was investigated using scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The mineral phase was characterized using conventional and high-resolution TEM, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and solid-state (31)P and (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance. F-OST osteoblast cultures presented a clear nodular mineralization pattern. The chief features of the mineralizing nodules were globular accretions ranging from about 100 nm to 1.5 μm in diameter, loaded with needle-shaped crystallites. Accretions seemed to bud from the cell membrane, increase in size, and coalesce into larger ones. Arrays of loosely packed, randomly oriented collagen fibrils were seen along with the accretions. Mineralized fibrils were often observed, sometimes in close association with accretions. The mineral phase was characterized as a poorly crystalline hydroxyapatite. The Ca/P atomic ratio was 1.49 ± 0.06. The presence of OH was evident. The lattice parameters were a = 9.435 Å and c = 6.860 Å. The average crystallite size was 20 nm long and 10 nm wide. Carbonate substitutions were seen in phosphate and OH sites. Water was also found within the apatitic core. In conclusion, F-OST osteoblast cultures produce a bone-like matrix and may provide a good model for bone mineralization studies.
Calcified Tissue International 09/2011; 89(5):358-71. · 2.38 Impact Factor