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Biomaterials. 2006 Oct;27(29):5099-106. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

The effect of cell-based bone tissue engineering in a goat transverse process model.

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Department of Orthopaedics, G05.228, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


A disadvantage of traditional posterolateral spinal fusion models is that they are highly inefficient for screening multiple conditions. We developed a multiple-condition model that concentrates on the initial process of bone formation from the transverse process and not on a functional fusion. The effect of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) in four different porous ceramic scaffolds was investigated in this setting. Polyacetal cassettes were designed to fit on the goat transverse process and house four different ceramic blocks, i.e: hydroxyapatite (HA) sintered at 1,150 degrees and 1,250 degrees; biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) and tricalcium phosphate (TCP). Goat BMSCs (n=10) were cultured and per-operatively seeded autologeously on one of two cassettes implanted per animal. The cassettes were bilaterally mounted on the dorsum of decorticated L2-processes for 9 weeks. To asses the dynamics of bone formation, fluorochrome labels were administered and histomorphometry focused on the distribution of bone in the scaffolds. A clear difference in the extent of bone ingrowth was determined for the different scaffold types. An obvious effect of BMSC seeding was observed in three of four scaffold types, especially in scaffold regions adjacent to the overlying muscle. Generally, the BCP and TCP scaffolds showed better osteoconduction and an increased response to BMSCs administration. In conclusion the model provides a reliable and highly efficient method to study bone formation in cell-based tissue engineering. An effect of cell administration was obvious in three of the four scaffold materials.

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