Human fetal bone cells associated with ceramic reinforced PLA scaffolds for tissue engineering
Fetal bone cells were shown to have an interesting potential for therapeutic use in bone tissue engineering due to their rapid growth rate and their ability to differentiate into mature osteoblasts in vitro. We describe hereafter their capability to promote bone repair in vivo when combined with porous scaffolds based on poly(L-lactic acid) (PLA) obtained by supercritical gas foaming and reinforced with 5 wt% β-tricalcium phosphate (TCP). Bone regeneration was assessed by radiography and histology after implantation of PLA/TCP scaffolds alone, seeded with primary fetal bone cells, or coated with demineralized bone matrix. Craniotomy critical size defects and drill defects in the femoral condyle in rats were employed. In the cranial defects, polymer degradation and cortical bone regeneration were studied up to 12 months postoperatively. Complete bone ingrowth was observed after implantation of PLA/TCP constructs seeded with human fetal bone cells. Further tests were conducted in the trabecular neighborhood of femoral condyles, where scaffolds seeded with fetal bone cells also promoted bone repair. We present here a promising approach for bone tissue engineering using human primary fetal bone cells in combination with porous PLA/TCP structures. Fetal bone cells could be selected regarding osteogenic and immune-related properties, along with their rapid growth, ease of cell banking and associated safety.