A model for tissue engineering applications: femoral critical size defect in immunodeficient mice

Samer Srouji, Dror Ben-David, Thomas Kohler, Ralph Müller, Eyal Zussman, Erella Livne
Tissue Engineering. Part C, Methods 2011, 17 (5): 597-606
Animal models for preclinical functionality assays lie midway between in vitro systems such as cell culture and actual clinical trials. We have developed a novel external fixation device for femoral critical size defect (CSD) in the femurs of immunodeficient mice as an experimental model for studying bone regeneration and bone tissue engineering. The external fixation device comprises four pointed rods and dental acrylic paste. A segmental bone defect (2 mm) was created in the midshaft of the mouse femur. The CSD in the femur of the mice were either left untreated or treated with a bone allograft, a cell-scaffold construct, or a scaffold-only construct. The repair and healing processes of the CSD were monitored by digital x-ray radiography, microcomputed tomography, and histology. Repair of the femoral CSD was achieved with the bone allografts, and partial repair of the femoral CSD was achieved with the cell scaffold and the scaffold-only constructs. No repair of the nongrafted femoral CSD was observed. Our results establish the feasibility of this new mouse femoral model for CSD repair of segmental bone using a simple stabilized external fixation device. The model should prove especially useful for in vivo preclinical proof-of-concept studies that involve cell therapy-based technologies for bone tissue engineering applications in humans.

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