, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 435-444,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 16 Dec 2011

Restoration of rat calvarial defects by poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/hydroxyapatite scaffolds loaded with bone mesenchymal stem cells and DNA complexes


A composite construct comprising of a bone mesenchymal stem cell (BMSC) sheet, plasmid DNA, encoding human bone morphogenic protein-2 (hBMP-2), and poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/hydroxyapatite (PLGA/HA) sponge was designed and employed in the restoration of rat calvarial defects. To improve gene transfection efficiency, a cationic chitosan derivative, N,N,N,-trimethyl chitosan chloride (TMC), was employed as the vector. The TMC/DNA complexes had a transfection efficiency of 13% in rat BMSCs, resulting in heterogeneous hBMP-2 expression in a 10-d culture period in vitro. In vivo culture of the composite constructs was performed by implantation into rat full-thickness calvarial defects, using constructs lacking pDNA-hBMP-2 or BMSC sheets as controls. Significantly higher heterogeneous expression of hBMP-2 was detected in vivo at 2 weeks for the cell sheet/DNA complex/scaffold constructs, compared with the constructs lacking pDNA-hBMP-2 or BMSC sheets. New bone formation was evident as early as 4 weeks in the experimental constructs. At 8 weeks, partial bridging of calvarial defects was observed in the experimental constructs, which was significantly better than the constructs lacking pDNA-hBMP-2 or BMSC sheets. Therefore, the combination of the PLGA/HA scaffold with BMSC sheets and gene therapy vectors is effective at enhancing bone formation.