Performance of evacuated calcium phosphate microcarriers loaded with mesenchymal stem cells within a rat calvarium defect.
Tissue engineering of stem cells in concert with 3-dimensional (3D) scaffolds is a promising approach for regeneration of bone tissues. Bioactive ceramic microspheres are considered effective 3D stem cell carriers for bone tissue engineering. Here we used evacuated calcium phosphate (CaP) microspheres as the carrier of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from rat bone marrow. The performance of the CaP-MSCs construct in bone formation within a rat calvarium defect was evaluated. MSCs were first cultured in combination with the evacuated microcarriers for 7 days in an osteogenic medium, which was then implanted in the 6 mm-diameter calvarium defect for 12 weeks. For comparison purposes, a control defect and cell-free CaP microspheres were also evaluated. The osteogenic differentiation of MSCs cultivated in the evacuated CaP microcarriers was confirmed by alkaline phosphatase staining and real time polymerase chain reaction. The in vivo results confirmed the highest bone formation was attained in the CaP microcarriers combined with MSCs, based on microcomputed tomography and histological assays. The results suggest that evacuated CaP microspheres have the potential to be useful as stem cell carriers for bone tissue engineering.