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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2006;585:225-41.

Modulation of cell differentiation in bone tissue engineering constructs cultured in a bioreactor.

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Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA.


In summary, many factors can influence the osteoblastic differentiation of marrow stromal cells when cultivated on three-dimensional tissue engineering scaffolds. In creating ideal bone tissue engineering constructs consisting of a combination of a scaffold, cells, and bioactive factors; a flow perfusion bioreactor is a much more suitable culture environment than static culture in well plates. The bioreactor eliminates mass transport limitations to the scaffold interior and provides mechanical stimulation to the seeded cells through fluid shear. Scaffold properties such as pore size impact cell differentiation, especially in flow perfusion culture. In addition, the bone-like extracellular matrix created by the in vitro culture of marrow stromal cells on porous scaffolds creates an osteoinductive environment for the differentiation of other marrow stromal cell populations. Therefore, bone tissue engineering constructs created by in vitro culture have excellent potential for bone regeneration applications in the clinic. However, more work is required to optimize this tissue engineering strategy. A biodegradable material with mechanical integrity similar to native bone and degradation properties similar to the rate of bone formation would be a more ideal scaffold material. It is also yet unclear what the optimum scaffold pore size and amount of in vitro generated extracellular matrix are to maximize bone formation. Finally, better characterization of the flow patterns within the flow perfusion bioreactor is needed to better understand the relationship between fluid shear and cell differentiation for creation of the ideal scaffold/culture combination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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