Macrochanneled bioactive ceramic scaffolds in combination with collagen hydrogel: a new tool for bone tissue engineering.
ABSTRACT New tissue-engineering tool for bone regeneration is described to facilitate homogeneous cell seeding and effective osteogenic development. Calcium phosphate (CaP) scaffolds with macrochanneled and well-defined pore structure was developed, however, a large portion of the cells seeded directly within the scaffold easily penetrates without good adhesion to the scaffold surface. To overcome this, a method was exploited to dispense cells evenly throughout the CaP scaffold using collagen hydrogel. Rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were mixed within a neutralized collagen solution, which was then infiltrated into the macrochanneled pore space and gelled to result in macrochanneled bioceramic scaffold combined with MSCs-hydrogel. MSCs contained within the hydrogel-CaP scaffolds were highly viable, with similar growth pattern to those in the collagen hydrogel. Cells seeded by this approach were initially almost double in number compared with those seeded directly onto the CaP scaffold and had an active proliferation more than 14 days. Assessments of the MSCs showed significantly higher alkaline phosphatase levels in the combined scaffold, which was accompanied by enhanced osteogenesis including the expression of genes [collagen type I, bone sialoprotein, and osteopontin (OPN)] and proteins (OPN and osteocalcin). Extracellular calcium was also elevated significantly in the combined scaffold compared to the CaP scaffold. In addition, mechanical strength of the constructs was improved significantly in the combined scaffold compared to the CaP scaffold. Based on these, the cell culturing and tissue engineering strategy within the macrochanneled bioactive ceramic scaffolds could be improved greatly by the combinatory approach of using collagen hydrogel.