In the repair of skeletal defects one of the major obstacles still remains an efficient vascularization of engineered scaffolds. We have examined the ability of insulin growth factor-1, alone or in association with vascular endothelial growth factor, to modulate the osteoblastic or endothelial commitment of periosteum-derived progenitor cells (PDPCs) and skin-derived multipotent stromal cells (S-MSCs). A selected gene panel for endothelial and osteoblastic differentiation as well as genes that can affect MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways were investigated. Moreover, gene expression profile of Sox2, Oct4, and Nanog transcription factors was assessed. Our results showed that under growth factor stimulation PDPCs are induced toward an osteoblastic differentiation, while S-MSCs seem to move along an endothelial phenotype. This different commitment seems to be linked to a diverse MAPK or PI3K/AKT signaling pathway activation. The analysis of genes for stemness evidenced that at least in PDPCs multipotency and differentiation could coexist. These results open interesting perspective for the development of innovative bone tissue engineering approaches based on a good network of angiogenesis and osteogenesis processes.
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