Despite progress in bone tissue engineering, the healing of critically sized diaphyseal defects remains a clinical challenge. A stem cell-based approach is an attractive alternative to current treatment techniques. The objective of this study was to examine the ability of adult stem cells to enhance bone formation when co-delivered with the osteoinductive factor bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) in a biologically functionalized hydrogel. First, adipose and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs and BMMSCs) were screened for their potential to form bone when delivered in an RGD functionalized alginate hydrogel using a subcutaneous implant model. BMMSCs co-delivered with BMP-2 produced significantly more mineralized tissue compared with either ADSCs co-delivered with BMP-2 or acellular hydrogels containing BMP-2. Next, the ability of BMMSCs to heal a critically sized diaphyseal defect with a nonhealing dose of BMP-2 was tested using the alginate hydrogel as an injectable cell carrier. The effect of timing of therapeutic delivery on bone regeneration was also tested in the diaphyseal model. A 7 day delayed injection of the hydrogel into the defect site resulted in less mineralized tissue formation than immediate delivery of the hydrogel. By 12 weeks, BMMSC-loaded hydrogels produced significantly more bone than acellular constructs regardless of immediate or delayed treatment. For immediate delivery, bridging of defects treated with BMMSC-loaded hydrogels occurred at a rate of 75% compared with a 33% bridging rate for acellular-treated defects. No bridging was observed in any of the delayed delivery samples for any of the groups. Therefore, for this cell-based bone tissue engineering approach, immediate delivery of constructs leads to an overall enhanced healing response compared with delayed delivery techniques. Further, these studies demonstrate that co-delivery of adult stem cells, specifically BMMSCs, with BMP-2 enhances bone regeneration in a critically sized femoral segmental defect compared with acellular hydrogels containing BMP-2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering