SCIENCE CHINA Materials, Volume 59, Issue 11: 901-910(2016) https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-016-5104-9

Growth enhancing effect of LBL-assembled magnetic nanoparticles on primary bone marrow cells

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  • ReceivedJul 18, 2016
  • AcceptedSep 28, 2016
  • PublishedNov 11, 2016


Magnetic field has been considered to have positive effect on growth of bone. Because a magnetic nanoparticle can be regarded as one magnetic dipole, the macroscopic assemblies of magnetic nanoparticles may exhibit magnetic effect on local objects. This paper fabricated macroscopic film of γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles by layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly on poly-D,L-lactic acid (PLA) scaffold, and studied the magnetic effect of the assembled γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles film on primary bone marrow cells. The primary bone marrow cells were extracted from a mouse and cultured on the PLA substrate decorated by the film of γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles after purification. Quantitative PCR (q-PCR) was used to show the cellular effect quantitatively. A just-found magnetosensing protein was employed to verify the magnetic effect of assembled film of nanoparticles on primary cells. It was exhibited that the decoration of nanoparticles enhanced the mechanical property of the interface. By acting as the adhesion sites, the LBL-assembled film of nanoparticles seemed beneficial to the cellular growth and differentiation. The expression of magnetosensing protein indicated that there was magnetic effect on the cells which resulted from the assembly of magnetic nanoparticles, implying its potential as a promising interface on scaffold which can integrate the physical effect with good biocompatibility to enhance the growth and differentiation of stem cells. The LBL-assembled film of magnetic nanoparticles may boost the development of novel scaffold which can introduce the physical stimulus into local tissue in vivo.

Funded by

National Basic Research Program of China(2013CB733801,the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21273002,61601227. Sun J is also thankful to the supports from the special fund for the top doctoral thesis of Chinese Education Ministry (201174)


This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB733801) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21273002 and 61601227). Sun J is also thankful to the supports from the special fund for the top doctoral thesis of Chinese Education Ministry (201174). Lou Z and Li Y thank the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20160939 and BK20130608). All authors are thankful to the supports from Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology.

Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Sun J conceived and designed the experiments, analyzed the results and wrote the manuscript. Liu X did all the cell experiments with help of Yang Y and Li Y. Zhang J prepared the samples and did the characterization with Tang S. Lou Z carried out the AFM characterization. Liu X and Wang P involved in the paper writing. Gu N supervised the project. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Author information

Xuan Liu received her PhD degree in biomedical engineering from Southeast University in 2011. Now she is a lecturer at the School of Medicine, Southeast University. Her research interests include bone metabolic mechanism, osteoporosis pathogenesis and diagnostic method, bone scaffold material and bone repair.

Jie Zhang received his BSc degree in biomedical engineering from Southeast University in 2013. Now he is pursuing his master degree (biomedical engineering) at Southeast University. His research interest is the assembly of nanoparticles.

Jianfei Sun received his PhD degree in biomedical engineering from Southeast University in 2008. He is an associate professor at the School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Southeast University. His research interests include fabrication of nanoelectronic devices by self-assembly of nanoparticles and their application in biomedical issues.

Ning Gu received his PhD degree in biomedical engineering from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, in 1996. Currently he is Cheung Kong Scholar Chair Professor at the School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Southeast University and Director of Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Biomaterials and Devices. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers and obtained many awards. His research interests include application of magnetic nanomaterials in biomedicine.


Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    Morphological observation of LBL-assembled film. (a) Cross-section of PLA substrate fabricated by spin coating; (b) LBL-assembled γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles on PLA substrate; (c) local magnification of b; (d) 3D AFM image of the granular film. (e and f) Magnetic hysteresis loops of LBL-assembled film of γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles before and after magnetization. (g) Schematic drawing of the fabrication process of LBL-assembled film and the magnetization.

  • Figure 2

    Characterization of cellular growth. (a–d) Optical observation of cells growing on cellular culturing plate (control), blank PLA film (null PLA), PLA film with LBL-assembled magnetic nanoparticles (LBL-MNP PLA) and PLA film with LBL-assembled magnetic nanoparticles after magnetization (M-LBL-MNP PLA); (e, f) proliferation measurement of cells cultured on the four surfaces using CCK8 assay and flow cytometry, respectively; (g) q-PCR measurement of integrin and cadherin for cells growing on the four surfaces.

  • Figure 3

    Characterization of cellular differentiation. (a–d) ALP staining of cells growing on cellular culturing plate (control), blank PLA film (null PLA), PLA film with LBL-assembled magnetic nanoparticles (LBL-MNP PLA) and PLA film with LBL-assembled magnetic nanoparticles after magnetization (M-LBL-MNP PLA); (e) mRNA measurement of osteocalcin, osteopontin, RUNX2 and BMP-2 proteins for cells cultured on the four surfaces with q-PCR method; (f) mRNA measurement of magnetosensing protein for cells growing on the four surfaces with q-PCR method.

  • Figure 4

    Schematic showing of the mechanism for effect of the assembled film of magnetic nanoparticles on the cells. The key point lies in the local magnetic order. The magnetization augments the magnetic order and thus can enhance the cellular effect as the above-mentioned phenomena.

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