Hyaluronan-based heparin-incorporated hydrogels for generation of axially vascularized bioartificial bone tissues: in vitro and in vivo evaluation in a PLDLLA–TCP–PCL-composite system
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Smart matrices are required in bone tissue-engineered grafts that provide an optimal environment for cells and retain osteo-inductive factors for sustained biological activity. We hypothesized that a slow-degrading heparin-incorporated hyaluronan (HA) hydrogel can preserve BMP-2; while an arterio–venous (A–V) loop can support axial vascularization to provide nutrition for a bio-artificial bone graft. HA was evaluated for osteoblast growth and BMP-2 release. Porous PLDLLA–TCP–PCL scaffolds were produced by rapid prototyping technology and applied in vivo along with HA-hydrogel, loaded with either primary osteoblasts or BMP-2. A microsurgically created A–V loop was placed around the scaffold, encased in an isolation chamber in Lewis rats. HA-hydrogel supported growth of osteoblasts over 8 weeks and allowed sustained release of BMP-2 over 35 days. The A–V loop provided an angiogenic stimulus with the formation of vascularized tissue in the scaffolds. Bone-specific genes were detected by real time RT-PCR after 8 weeks. However, no significant amount of bone was observed histologically. The heterotopic isolation chamber in combination with absent biomechanical stimulation might explain the insufficient bone formation despite adequate expression of bone-related genes. Optimization of the interplay of osteogenic cells and osteo-inductive factors might eventually generate sufficient amounts of axially vascularized bone grafts for reconstructive surgery.
Hyaluronic acid/hyaluronan hydrogel
Bone morphogenetic protein