Citrus Based Biomaterial Helps Grow Bone
Bones and fruit, in a blend which Penn State University researchers call “citrate,” can provide that little extra “oomph” required to grow bone more quickly and reliably.
According to the researchers, “citrate”—a natural and presumably organic product of bones and citrus fruit will “juice-up” stem cells which, in turn, will grow bone while also keeping the risk of rejection low.
A smoothie for bones.
According to a post from Rohit Bhisey, writing for Fact.MR Blog, this new “citrate” could help scientists around the world to develop biodegradable, citrate-releasing scaffolds to act as a template for bone development.
Lead researcher, Jian Yang, Ph.D., who is professor of biomedical engineering at Penn State, said that he and his team have been working on this for ten years. He told Rohit, “It is a known fact that 90% of organic citrate in the human body is found in the skeletal tissue, But there are no research studies that suggest the use of citrate as an important component to make biomaterial for bones.”
Dr. Yang and his team may well have a new biomimetic material on their hands.
Their work, “Citrate-based materials fuel human stem cells by metabonegenic regulation” is described in more detail in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
One important discovery which was mentioned in Yang’s paper, was that he and his team did NOT see significant encapsulation or chronic inflammation from the “citrate” implant.
Lead author Chuying Ma, a doctoral student in Yang’s lab, told Bhisey that the team had discovered that the stem cell membrane has a transporter, which allows citrate to make its way into the cell and thereby pump up the cellular energy level.
To make new bone cells, Dr. Ma said, stem cells require more energy.
To be sure, she said, dosing and timing of supplying citrate to stem cells are critical.
Yang and Ma call the citrate effect “metabonegenic regulation.”
The researchers also discussed a second energy producing factor—phosphoserine, an amino acid.
Naturally, the team combined “citrate” with phosphoserine and are experimenting with in in rat models.
So far, the team is seeing evidence of new bone as early as one month after implant. The team is testing its new materials on cranial bone and femoral condyle bone defects.
Oranges and bones.