Bone regeneration is based on the hypothesis that healthy progenitor cells, either recruited or delivered to an injured site, can ultimately regenerate lost or damaged tissue. Three-dimensional porous polymer scaffolds may enhance bone regeneration by creating and maintaining a space that facilitates progenitor cell migration, proliferation, and differentiation. As an initial step to test this possibility, osteogenic cells were cultured on scaffolds fabricated from biodegradable polymers, and bone development on these scaffolds was evaluated. Porous polymer scaffolds were fabricated from biodegradable polymers of lactide and glycolide. MC3T3-E1 cells were statically seeded onto the polymer scaffolds and cultured in vitro in the presence of ascorbic acid and beta-glycerol phosphate. The cells proliferated during the first 4 weeks in culture and formed a space-filling tissue. Collagen messenger RNA levels remained high in these cells throughout the time in culture, which is consistent with an observed increase in collagen deposition on the polymer scaffold. Mineralization of the deposited collagen was initially observed at 4 weeks and subsequently increased. The onset of mineralization corresponded to increased mRNA levels for two osteoblast-specific genes: osteocalcin and bone sialoprotein. Culture of cell/polymer constructs for 12 weeks led to formation of a three-dimensional tissue with architecture similar to that of native bone. These studies demonstrate that osteoblasts within a three-dimensional engineered tissue follow the classic differentiation pathway described for two-dimensional culture. Polymer scaffolds such as these may ultimately be used clinically to enhance bone regeneration by delivering or recruiting progenitor cells to the wound site.
Last updated on 09/29/2017
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