Next generation bone tissue engineering: non-viral miR-133a inhibition using collagen-nanohydroxyapatite scaffolds rapidly enhances osteogenesis.

Bone grafts are the second most transplanted materials worldwide at a global cost to healthcare systems valued over $30 billion every year. The influence of microRNAs in the regenerative capacity of stem cells offers vast therapeutic potential towards bone grafting; however their efficient delivery to the target site remains a major challenge. This study describes how the functionalisation of porous collagen-nanohydroxyapatite (nHA) scaffolds with miR-133a inhibiting complexes, delivered using non-viral nHA particles, enhanced human mesenchymal stem cell-mediated osteogenesis through the novel focus on a key activator of osteogenesis, Runx2. This study showed enhanced Runx2 and osteocalcin expression, as well as increased alkaline phosphatase activity and calcium deposition, thus demonstrating a further enhanced therapeutic potential of a biomaterial previously optimised for bone repair applications. The promising features of this platform offer potential for a myriad of applications beyond bone repair and tissue engineering, thus presenting a new paradigm for microRNA-based therapeutics.