Functionalization of microstructured open-porous bio-ceramic scaffolds with human fetal cells
Bone substitute materials allowing trans-scaffold migration and in-scaffold survival of human bone-derived cells are mandatory for development of cell-engineered permanent implants to repair bone defects. In this study, we evaluated the influence on human bone-derived cells of the material composition and microstructure of foam scaffolds of calcium aluminate. The scaffolds were prepared using a direct foaming method allowing wide-range tailoring of the microstructure for pore size and pore openings. Human fetal osteoblasts (osteo-progenitors) attached to the scaffolds, migrated across the entire bioceramic depending on the scaffold pore size, colonized, and survived in the porous material for at least 6 weeks. The long-term biocompatibility of the scaffold material for human bone-derived cells was evidenced by in-scaf fold determination of cell metabolic activity using a modified MTT assay, a repeated WST-1 assay, and scanning electron microscopy. Finally, we demonstrated that the osteo-progenitors can be covalently bound to the scaffolds using biocompatible click chemistry, thus enhancing the rapid adhesion of the cells to the scaffolds. Therefore, the different microstructures of the foams influenced the migratory potential of the cells, but not cell viability. Scaffolds allow covalent biocompatible chemical binding of the cells to the materials, either localized or widespread integration of the scaffolds for cell-engineered implants.