Successful osseointegration of an endosseous implant involves migration and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on the implant surface. Micro-structured, hydrophilic titanium surfaces direct MSCs to undergo osteoblastic differentiation in vitro, in the absence of media additives commonly used in cultures grown on tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS). This process involves non-canonical Wnt5a, in contrast to canonical Wnt3a typically credited with osteoblastic differentiation on TCPS. Wnt proteins have been implicated in morphological development and tissue patterning, suggesting that additional Wnts may participate. Here, we demonstrate that Wnt11 is a mediator of osteoblast commitment of MSCs, and increases in a surface-roughness dependent manner. Experiments using cells silenced for Wnt11 indicate that cross-talk between Wnt5a and Wnt11 occurs. Wnt11 potentially acts upstream to Wnt5a, increasing Wnt5a expression and factors associated with osteogenesis. Thus, Wnt11 contributes to peri-implant bone formation distal to the implant surface through a heavily regulated signaling cascade of autocrine/paracrine proteins.
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