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Biomaterials. 2007 Apr;28(10):1798-805. Epub 2006 Dec 19.

Analysis of ectopic and orthotopic bone formation in cell-based tissue-engineered constructs in goats.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, G05.228, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands. mkruyt@umcutrecht.nl


Despite decades of extensive research, the application of cell-based bone tissue engineering in clinically relevant models remains challenging. To improve effectiveness, a better understanding of how the technique should work is crucial. In the current study, we investigated the onset time, rate, location and direction of bone formation in ectopically and orthotopically implanted clinically sized tissue-engineered constructs to gain insight the mechanism behind it. Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) were obtained from 10 goats, culture expanded and cryopreserved. Porous biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) disks of 17mmx6mm were per-operatively seeded with BMSCs or left empty. Both conditions were implanted intramuscularly and in bilateral critical-sized iliac wing defects. Fluorochromes were administered at 3, 5 and 7 weeks and samples were retrieved after 9 weeks. Histology showed abundant and homogeneous bone formation throughout the intramuscular BMSC samples and little bone in the controls. Histomorphometry and measurements of the fluorochrome labels of the ectopical BMSC samples indicated that osteogenesis started at the periphery and subsequent osteoconduction filled the whole scaffold within 7 weeks. In the orthotopically implanted disks, there was good integration with the surrounding bone, but minimal bone in the center of the implants, in both conditions. Bone was only derived from the interface with the surrounding bone, there was no early bone at the surfaces in contact to soft tissue as was seen in the ectopical samples. Apparently cell survival was minimal and insufficient for relevant additional bone formation. However, the speed of integration with surrounding bone and subsequent bone apposition on the BMSC-seeded orthotopic scaffolds were found to be significantly enhanced, which may be relevant especially in challenging environments.

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