AbstractIn this study, we have developed 50- to 100-µm-sized titanium phosphate glass microcarriers (denoted as Ti5) that show enhanced proliferation of human mesenchymal stem cells and MG63 osteosarcoma cells, as well as enhanced human mesenchymal stem cell expression of bone differentiation markers, in comparison with commercially available glass microspheres at all time points. We also demonstrate that these microcarriers provide superior human mesenchymal stem cell proliferation with conventional Dulbecco's Modified Eagle medium than with a specially developed commercial stem cell medium. The microcarrier proliferative capacity is revealed by a 24-fold increase in MG63 cell numbers in spinner flask bioreactor studies performed over a 7-day period, versus only a 6-fold increase in control microspheres under the same conditions; the corresponding values of Ti5 and control microspheres under static culture are 8-fold and 7-fold, respectively. The capability of guided osteogenic differentiation is confirmed by ELISAs for bone morphogenetic protein-2 and osteopontin, which reveal significantly greater expression of these markers, especially osteopontin, by human mesenchymal stem cells on the Ti5 microspheres than on the control. Scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy images reveal favorable MG63 and human mesenchymal stem cell adhesion on the Ti5 microsphere surfaces. Thus, the results demonstrate the suitability of the developed microspheres for use as microcarriers in bone tissue engineering applications.