Citrate-based materials fuel human stem cells by metabonegenic regulation

Chuying Ma, Xinggui Tian, Jimin P. Kim, Denghui Xie, Xiang Ao, Dingying Shan, Qiaoling Lin, Maria R. Hudock, Xiaochun Bai, Jian Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


A comprehensive understanding of the key microenvironmental signals regulating bone regeneration is pivotal for the effective design of bioinspired orthopedic materials. Here, we identified citrate as an osteopromotive factor and revealed its metabonegenic role in mediating citrate metabolism and its downstream effects on the osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Our studies show that extracellular citrate uptake through solute carrier family 13, member 5 (SLC13a5) supports osteogenic differentiation via regulation of energy-producing metabolic pathways, leading to elevated cell energy status that fuels the high metabolic demands of hMSC osteodifferentiation. We next identified citrate and phosphoserine (PSer) as a synergistic pair in polymeric design, exhibiting concerted action not only in metabonegenic potential for orthopedic regeneration but also in facile reactivity in a fluorescent system for materials tracking and imaging. We designed a citrate/phosphoserine-based photoluminescent biodegradable polymer (BPLP-PSer), which was fabricated into BPLP-PSer/hydroxyapatite composite microparticulate scaffolds that demonstrated significant improvements in bone regeneration and tissue response in rat femoral-condyle and cranial-defect models. We believe that the present study may inspire the development of new generations of biomimetic biomaterials that better recapitulate the metabolic microenvironments of stem cells to meet the dynamic needs of cellular growth, differentiation, and maturation for use in tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E11741-E11750
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 11 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Citrate-based materials fuel human stem cells by metabonegenic regulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this