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J Orthop Res. 2012 Aug;30(8):1198-212. doi: 10.1002/jor.22047. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Osteogenic and chondrogenic potential of biomembrane cells from the PMMA-segmental defect rat model.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina 28232, USA.


A layer of cells (the "biomembrane") has been identified in large segmental defects between bone and surgically placed methacrylate spacers or antibiotic-impregnated cement beads. We hypothesize that this contains a pluripotent stem cell population with potential valuable applications in orthopedic tissue engineering. Objectives using biomembranes harvested from rat segmental defects were to: (1) Culture biomembrane cells in specialized media to direct progenitor cells along bone or cartilage cell differentiation lineages; (2) evaluate harvested biomembranes for mesenchymal stem cell markers, and (3) define relevant gene expression patterns in harvested biomembranes using microarray analysis. Culture in osteogenic media produced mineralized nodules; culture in chondrogenic media produced masses containing chondroitin sulfate/sulfated proteoglycans. Molecular analysis of biomembrane cells versus control periosteum showed significant upregulation of key genes functioning in mesenchymal stem cell differentiation, development, maintenance, and proliferation. Results identified significant upregulation of WNT receptor signaling pathway genes and significant upregulation of BMP signaling pathway genes. Findings confirm that the biomembrane has a pluripotent stem cell population. The ability to heal large bone defects is clinically challenging, and novel tissue engineering uses of the biomembrane hold great promise in treating non-unions, open fractures with large bone loss and/or infections, and defects associated with tumor resection.

Copyright © 2012 Orthopaedic Research Society.

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