Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Stimulation in Osteogenesis and Chondrogenesis: Signaling Pathways and Therapeutic Implications

Author: Katia Varani1, Fabrizio Vincenzi1, Silvia Pasquini1, Irene Blo2, Simona Salati3, Matteo Cadossi3, Monica De Mattei2
1 Department of Translational Medicine and for Romagna, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy.
2 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy.
3 IGEA SpA, Clinical Biophysiscs, 41012 Carpi, Italy.
Conference/Journal: Int J Mol Sci
Date published: 2021 Jan 15
Other: Volume ID: 22 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 809 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/ijms22020809. , Word Count: 217

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are the main cell players in tissue repair and thanks to their self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation capabilities, they gained significant attention as cell source for tissue engineering (TE) approaches aimed at restoring bone and cartilage defects. Despite significant progress, their therapeutic application remains debated: the TE construct often fails to completely restore the biomechanical properties of the native tissue, leading to poor clinical outcomes in the long term. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) are currently used as a safe and non-invasive treatment to enhance bone healing and to provide joint protection. PEMFs enhance both osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs. Here, we provide extensive review of the signaling pathways modulated by PEMFs during MSCs osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation. Particular attention has been given to the PEMF-mediated activation of the adenosine signaling and their regulation of the inflammatory response as key player in TE approaches. Overall, the application of PEMFs in tissue repair is foreseen: (1) in vitro: to improve the functional and mechanical properties of the engineered construct; (2) in vivo: (i) to favor graft integration, (ii) to control the local inflammatory response, and (iii) to foster tissue repair from both implanted and resident MSCs cells.

Keywords: adenosine receptors; chondrogenic differentiation; mesenchymal stem cells; osteogenic differentiation; pulsed electromagnetic fields; tissue engineering.

PMID: 33467447 PMCID: PMC7830993 DOI: 10.3390/ijms22020809