Calcium sulfate (CaS) is an highly biocompatible material that has the characteristic of being one of the simplest as well as one of the synthetic bone-like graft with the longest clinical history, spanning more than 100 years. Solidified or crystallized CaS is very osteogenic in vivo. As the surface CaS dissolves in body fluid, the calcium ions form calcium phosphate that reprecipitates on the surface forming an osteoblast "friendly" environment. How this "friendly" environment alters osteoblast activity to promote bone formation is poorly understood. We therefore attempted to address this question by using microarray techniques to identified genes that are differently regulated in osteoblasts exposed to CaS. By using DNA microarrays containing 19,200 genes, we identified in osteoblast-like cells line (MG-63) cultured with CaS (Surgiplaster, Classimplant, Roma, Italy) several genes that expression was significantly upregulated. The differentially expressed genes cover a broad range of functional activities: (a) immunity, (b) lysosomal enzymes production, (c) cell cycle regulation, (d) and signaling transduction. It was also possible to detect some genes whose function is unknown. The data reported are, to our knowledge, the first genetic portrait of CaS effects. They can be relevant to better understand the molecular mechanism of bone regeneration and as a model for comparing other materials with similar clinical effects.
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