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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 596023, 10 pages
Research Article

Neuropeptide Substance P Improves Osteoblastic and Angiogenic Differentiation Capacity of Bone Marrow Stem Cells In Vitro

1Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, 1838 North Guangzhou Avenue, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510515, China
2School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
3Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, China

Received 7 March 2014; Accepted 16 May 2014; Published 23 June 2014

Academic Editor: Zhi-Yong Zhang

Copyright © 2014 Su Fu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Our previous work showed that implanting a sensory nerve or vascular bundle when constructing vascularized and neurotized bone could promote bone osteogenesis in tissue engineering. This phenomenon could be explained by the regulatory function of neuropeptides. Neuropeptide substance P (SP) has been demonstrated to contribute to bone growth by stimulating the proliferation and differentiation of bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs). However, there have been no prior studies on the association between Wnt signaling and the mechanism of SP in the context of BMSC differentiation. Our results have shown that SP could enhance the differentiation of BMSCs by activating gene and protein expression via the Wnt pathway and by translocating β-catenin, which can be inhibited by Wnt signaling blocker treatment or by the NK-1 antagonist. SP could also increase the growth factor level of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2). Additionally, SP could enhance the migration ability of BMSCs, and the promotion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression by SP has been studied. In conclusion, SP could induce osteoblastic differentiation via the Wnt pathway and promote the angiogenic ability of BMSCs. These results indicate that a vascularized and neurotized tissue-engineered construct could be feasible for use in bone tissue engineering strategies.