β-Carotene: a natural osteogen to fabricate osteoinductive electrospun scaffolds†
β-Carotene (βC) as a natural osteogenic material was incorporated in PCL electrospun mats to fabricate scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. These scaffolds successfully supported the attachment and proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Seeded scaffolds were calcinated during 21 days of cell culture in a non-differential medium, which showed the osteodifferentiation of MSCs. Expression of RUNX2, SOX9, and osteonectin proved the osteoinductive effect of incorporated β-carotene on the differentiation of MSCs to osteoblasts without using any external osteogenic differential agent. However, the cells did not pass the early phase of osteogenesis and were still osteochondro-progenitor after 21 days of incubation. Thus, the fabricated fibrous scaffolds are potential candidates for direct bone tissue engineering.