Background: Neovascularization plays an essential part in bone fracture and defect healing, constructing tissue engineered bone that targets bone regeneration. Bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) is a regular indicator that potentiates osteogenic and angiogenic differentiation of MSCs.

Objectives: To investigate the effects of BMP9 on osteogenesis and angiogenesis of human amniotic mesenchymal stem cells (hAMSCs) cocultured with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and determine the possible underlying molecular mechanism.

Results: The isolated hAMSCs expressed surface markers of MSCs. hAMSCs cocultured with HUVECs enhance osteogenic differentiation and upregulate the expression of angiogenic factors. BMP9 not only potentiates angiogenic signaling of hAMSCs cocultured with HUVECs also increases ectopic bone formation and subcutaneous vessel invasion. Mechanically, the coupling effect between osteogenesis and angiogenesis induced by BMP9 was activated by the BMP/Smad and PI3K/AKT/m-TOR signaling pathways.

Conclusions: BMP9-enhanced osteoblastic and angiogenic differentiation in cocultivation with hAMSCs and HUVECs in vitro and in vivo also provide a chance to harness the BMP9-regulated coordinated effect between osteogenic and angiogenic pathways through BMP/Smad and PI3K/AKT/m-TOR signalings.

Materials and Methods: The ALP and Alizarin Red S staining assay to determine the effects of osteoblastic differentiation. RT-qPCR and western blot was measured the expression of angiogenesis-related factors. Ectopic bone formation was established and retrieved bony masses were subjected to histochemical staining. The angiogenesis ability and vessel invasion were subsequently determined by immunofluorescence staining. Molecular mechanisms such as the BMP/Smad and PI3K/AKT/m-TOR signaling pathways were detected by ELISA and western blot analysis.