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Cytotherapy. 2013 Nov;15(11):1309-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2013.06.005. Epub 2013 Aug 31.

Cell-based approaches to the engineering of vascularized bone tissue.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


This review summarizes recent efforts to create vascularized bone tissue in vitro and in vivo through the use of cell-based therapy approaches. The treatment of large and recalcitrant bone wounds is a serious clinical problem, and in the United States approximately 10% of all fractures are complicated by delayed union or non-union. Treatment approaches with the use of growth factor and gene delivery have shown some promise, but results are variable and clinical complications have arisen. Cell-based therapies offer the potential to recapitulate key components of the bone-healing cascade, which involves concomitant regeneration of vasculature and new bone tissue. For this reason, osteogenic and vasculogenic cell types have been combined in co-cultures to capitalize on the function of each cell type and to promote heterotypic interactions. Experiments in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional systems have provided insight into the mechanisms by which osteogenic and vasculogenic cells interact to form vascularized bone, and these approaches have been translated to ectopic and orthotopic models in small-animal studies. The knowledge generated by these studies will inform and facilitate the next generation of pre-clinical studies, which are needed to move cell-based orthopaedic repair strategies into the clinic. The science and application of cytotherapy for repair of large and ischemic bone defects is developing rapidly and promises to provide new treatment methods for these challenging clinical problems.


bone; cell therapy; orthopedics; stem cells; tissue engineering; vascularization

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