Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells form ectopic woven bone in vivo through endochondral bone formation

Sophia Chia-Ning Chang, Ching-Lung Tai, Hui-Ying Chung, Tsung-Min Lin, Long-Bin Jeng
Artificial Organs 2009, 33 (4): 301-8
Autologous vascularized bone grafts, allografts, and biocompatible artificial bone substitutes each have their shortcomings. Bones regenerated using recombinant human bone morphogenetic proteins, demineralized bone powder, or combinations of these are generally small and do not meet the need. The current trend is to use tissue engineering approaches with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to generate bones of a desired size and shape. A suspension of osteogenically induced MSCs (CD11a-, CD29+, CD44+) was added to 2% alginate, gelled by mixing this combination with calcium sulfate (CaSO(4) 0.2 g/mL), and injected into the subcutaneous pocket in the dorsal aspect of nude mice. Cells of various concentrations (0, 10, 50, and 70 million/mL) were used. These implanted constructs were harvested at predetermined times up to 30 weeks for histology. The doubling time of bovine MSCs is 3.75 +/- 1.96 days and the proliferation is rapid. Histological evaluation revealed signs of endochondrosis with woven bone deposition. The equilibrium modulus increased with time in vivo, though less than that of normal tissue. Implants seeded with 70 million cells/mL for 6 months resulted in the best formation of equilibrium modulus. This approach has several advantages: (i) obtaining MSCs is associated with low donor morbidity; (ii) MSCs proliferate rapidly in vitro, and a large number of viable cells can be obtained; and (iii) the MSC/alginate constructs can develop into bone-like nodules with high cell viability. Such a system may be useful in large-scale production of bony implants or in the repair of bony defects. The fact that endochondral bone formation led to woven bone suggests its potential feasibility in regional cell therapy.

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