Tissue engineering. Part A

Bone Regeneration Using Hydroxyapatite Sponge Scaffolds with In Vivo Deposited Extracellular Matrix.

PMID 26228909


There is currently an increased interest in studying the extracellular matrix (ECM) and its potential applications for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The ECM plays an important role by providing adhesive substrates to cells during migration, morphogenesis, differentiation, and homeostasis by signaling biochemical and biomechanical cues to cells. In this study, the ECM was incorporated into hydroxyapatite by implanting sponge replica scaffolds in subcutaneous pockets in rats, and the implants were tested for bone regeneration potential. The resulting scaffolds were characterized using scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, DNA and RNA quantification, tissue staining, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis, compressive strength testing, porosity, and pore size distribution analysis using bare scaffolds as a control reference. Biocompatibility was assessed using MC3T3-E1 preosteoblast cells and in vivo studies were carried out by implanting decellularized scaffolds in 11 mm radial defects in New Zealand rabbits for 4 and 8 weeks to determine the effect of the in vivo deposited ECM. Material characterization indicated that a 2-week decellularized scaffold was the best among the samples, with an evenly distributed ECM visible on hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissue sections, a compressive strength of 2.53 ± 0.68 MPa, a porosity of 58.08 ± 3.32% and a pore size distribution range of 10-150 μm. In vivo results showed no severe inflammation, with increased cell infiltration followed by dense matrix deposition after 4 weeks and new bone formation at 8 weeks. The results indicate that incorporation of an in vivo deposited ECM into ceramic scaffolds can potentially improve bone regeneration.