• all-trans retinoic acid;
  • bone marrow stromal cells;
  • bone morphogenetic protein;
  • heterodimeric;
  • osteogenic differentiation

The osteogenesis of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) is of paramount importance for the repair of large-size bone defects, which may be compromised by the dietary-accumulated all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). We have shown that heterodimeric bone morphogenetic protein 2/7 (BMP2/7) could induce bone regeneration in a significantly higher dose-efficiency in comparison with homodimeric BMPs. In this study, we evaluated the effects of ATRA and BMP2/7 on the proliferation, differentiation, mineralization and osteogenic genes. ATRA and BMP2/7 exhibited both antagonistic and synergistic effects on the osteogenesis of BMSCs. ATRA significantly inhibited proliferation and expression of osteocalcin but enhanced the activity of alkaline phosphatase of BMSCs. On day 21, 50 ng/mL BMP2/7 could antagonize the inhibitive effects of ATRA and significantly enhance osteogenesis of BMSCs. These findings suggested a promising application potential of heterodimeric BMP2/7 in clinic to promote bone regeneration for the cases with dietary accumulated ATRA.