Although bone has remarkable regenerative capacity, about 10% of long bone fractures and 25% to 40% of vertebral fusion procedures fail to heal. In such instances, a scaffold is employed to bridge the lesion and accommodate osteoprogenitors. Although synthetic bone scaffolds mimic some of the characteristics of bone matrix, their effectiveness can vary because of biological incompatibility. Herein, we demonstrate that a composite prepared with osteogenically enhanced mesenchymal stem cells (OEhMSCs) and their extracellular matrix (ECM) has an unprecedented capacity for the repair of critical-sized defects of murine femora. Furthermore, OEhMSCs do not cause lymphocyte activation, and ECM/OEhMSC composites retain their in vivo efficacy after cryopreservation. Finally, we show that attachment to the ECM by OEhMSCs stimulates the production of osteogenic and angiogenic factors. These data demonstrate that composites of OEhMSCs and their ECM could be utilized in the place of autologous bone graft for complex orthopedic reconstructions.
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