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Int J Biol Sci. 2011;7(7):968-77. Epub 2011 Aug 7.

In vitro evaluation of natural marine sponge collagen as a scaffold for bone tissue engineering.

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Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangdong General Hospital, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510080, P.R. China.


The selection of a suitable scaffold matrix is critical for cell-based bone tissue engineering. This study aimed to identify and characterize natural marine sponges as potential bioscaffolds for osteogenesis. Callyspongiidae marine sponge samples were collected from the Fremantle coast of Western Australia. The sponge structure was assessed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Hematoxylin and eosin. Mouse primary osteoblasts were seeded onto the sponge scaffold and immunostained with F-actin to assess cell attachment and aggregation. Alkaline phosphatase expression, von Kossa staining and real-time PCR were performed to examine the osteogenic potential of sponge samples. SEM revealed that the sponge skeleton possessed a collagenous fibrous network consisting of interconnecting channels and a porous structure that support cellular adhesion, aggregation and growth. The average pore size of the sponge skeleton was measured 100 to 300 μm in diameter. F-actin staining demonstrated that osteoblasts were able to anchor onto the surface of collagen fibres. Alkaline phosphatase expression, a marker of early osteoblast differentiation, was evident at 7 days although expression decreased steadily with long term culture. Using von Kossa staining, mineralisation nodules were evident after 21 days. Gene expression of osteoblast markers, osteocalcin and osteopontin, was also observed at 7, 14 and 21 days of culture. Together, these results suggest that the natural marine sponge is promising as a new scaffold for use in bone tissue engineering.


bone tissue engineering; natural marine sponge

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