• tissue-inducing biomaterials;
  • cell/scaffold constructs;
  • flow perfusion bioreactor;
  • critical size defect;
  • bone tissue engineering


The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo performance in bone-regenerating capability of cell/scaffold constructs implanted into an orthotopic site. Bone marrow stromal osteoblasts were seeded on titanium fiber mesh scaffolds using a cell suspension (5 × 105 cells per scaffold) and cultured for 1, 4, and 8 days under either static or flow perfusion conditions forming six different treatment groups. A total of 16 constructs from each one of the six treatment groups were then implanted into an 8-mm critical size calvarial defect created in the cranium of adult syngeneic male Fisher rats. Half of the constructs from each group were retrieved 7 days postimplantation, and the other half of the constructs were retrieved 30 days postimplantation and examined for new bone formation and tissue response. Constructs retrieved 7 days postimplantation were filled with fibrous tissue and capillaries, but no bone formation was observed in any of the six treatment groups. Constructs retrieved 30 days postimplantation showed bone formation (at least 7 out of 8 constructs in all treatment groups). Titanium fiber meshes seeded with bone marrow stromal osteoblasts and cultured for 1 day under flow perfusion conditions before implantation appeared to give the highest percentage of bone formation per implant (64 ± 17%). They also showed the highest ratio of critical size cranial defects that resulted in union of the defect 30 days postimplantation (7 out of 8) together with the constructs cultured for 1 day under static conditions before implantation. There were no significant differences between the different treatment groups; this finding is most likely due to the large variability of the results and the small number of animals per group. However, these results show that titanium fiber mesh scaffolds loaded with bone marrow stromal osteoblasts can have osteoinductive properties when implanted in an orthotopic site. They also indicate the importance of the stage of the osteoblastic differentiation and the quality of the in vitro generated extracellular matrix in the observed osteoinductive potential. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res 67A: 944–951, 2003