, Volume 20, Issue 3 Supplement, pp 353-360
Date: 16 Jul 2011

Titanium and tantalum as mesenchymal stem cell scaffolds for spinal fusion: an in vitro comparative study

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In the last few years, great interest has been focused on tissue engineering as a potential therapeutic approach for musculoskeletal diseases. The role of metallic implants for spinal fusion has been tested in preclinical and clinical settings. Titanium and tantalum have excellent biocompatibility and mechanical properties and are being used in this situation. On the other hand, the therapeutic role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) is extensively explored for their multilineage differentiation into osteoblasts.


In vitro comparision of titanium and tantalum as MSCs scaffolds.

Material and methods

In the present study, we have compared the in vitro expansion capacity, viability, immunophenotype (both explored by flow cytometry) and multi-differentiation ability of MSC cultured in the presence of either titanium or tantalum fragments. The adherence of MSC to either metal was demonstrated by electron microscopy.


Both metals were able to carry MSC when transferred to new culture flasks. In addition, our study shows that culture of MSC with titanium or tantalum improves cell viability and maintains all their biological properties, with no significant differences regarding the metal employed.


This would support the use of these combinations for clinical purposes, especially in the spinal fusion and reconstruction setting.