The use of ASCs engineered to express BMP2 or TGF-β3 within scaffold constructs to promote calvarial bone repair
Calvarial bone healing is difficult and grafts comprising adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) and PLGA (poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)) scaffolds barely heal rabbit calvarial defects. Although calvarial bone forms via intramembranous ossification without cartilage templates, it was suggested that chondrocytes/cartilages promote calvarial healing, thus we hypothesized that inducing ASCs chondrogenesis and endochondral ossification involving cartilage formation can improve calvarial healing. To evaluate this hypothesis and selectively induce osteogenesis/chondrogenesis, rabbit ASCs were engineered to express the potent osteogenic (BMP2) or chondrogenic (TGF-β3) factor, seeded into either apatite-coated PLGA or gelatin sponge scaffolds, and allotransplanted into critical-size calvarial defects. Among the 4 ASCs/scaffold constructs, gelatin constructs elicited in vitro chondrogenesis, in vivo osteogenic metabolism and calvarial healing more effectively than apatite-coated PLGA, regardless of BMP2 or TGF-β3 expression. The BMP2-expressing ASCs/gelatin triggered better bone healing than TGF-β3-expressing ASCs/gelatin, filling ≈86% of the defect area and ≈61% of the volume at week 12. The healing proceeded via endochondral ossification, instead of intramembranous pathway, as evidenced by the formation of cartilage that underwent osteogenesis and hypertrophy. These data demonstrated ossification pathway switching and significantly augmented calvarial healing by the BMP2-expressing ASCs/gelatin constructs, and underscored the importance of growth factor/scaffold combinations on the healing efficacy and pathway.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 34, Issue 37, December 2013, Pages 9401–9412