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Tissue Eng Part A. 2011 Jun;17(11-12):1615-23. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2010.0573. Epub 2011 Apr 2.

Lamellar spacing in cuboid hydroxyapatite scaffolds regulates bone formation by human bone marrow stromal cells.

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Department of Surgery, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0807, USA.



A major goal in bone engineering is the creation of large volume constructs (scaffolds and stem cells) that bear load. The scaffolds must satisfy two competing requirements--they need be sufficiently porous to allow nutrient flow to maintain cell viability, yet sufficiently dense to bear load. We studied the effect of scaffold macroporosity on bone formation and scaffold strength, for bone formed by human bone marrow stromal cells.


Rigid cubical hydroxyapatite/tricalcium phosphate scaffolds were produced by robo-casting. The ceramic line thickness was held constant, but the distance between adjacent lines was either 50, 100, 200, 500, or 1000 μm. Cultured human bone marrow stromal cells were combined with the scaffolds in vitro; transplants were placed into the subcutis of immunodeficient mice. Transplants were harvested 9, 18, 23, 38, or 50 weeks later. Bone formation and scaffold strength were analyzed using histology and compression testing.


Sixty transplants were evaluated. Cortical bone increased with transplant age, and was greatest among 500 μm transplants. In contrast, maximum transplant strength was greatest among 200 μm transplants.


Lamellar spacing within scaffolds regulates the extent of bone formation; 500 μm yields the most new bone, whereas 200 μm yields the strongest transplants.

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