Bone formation by three-dimensional stromal osteoblast culture in biodegradable polymer scaffolds

Susan L. Ishaug, Genevieve M. Crane, Michael J. Miller, Alan W. Yasko, Michael J. Yaszemski, Antonios G. Mikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

733 Scopus citations


Bone formation was investigated in vitro by culturing stromal osteoblasts in three-dimensional (3-D), biodegradable poly(DL-lactic-co- glycolic acid) foams. Three polymer foam pore sizes, ranging from 150-300, 300-500, and 500-710 μm, and two different cell seeding densities, 6.83 x 105 cells/cm2 and 22.1 x 105 cells/cm2, were examined over a 56-day culture period. The polymer foams supported the proliferation of seeded osteoblasts as well as their differentiated function, as demonstrated by high alkaline phosphatase activity and deposition of a mineralized matrix by the cells. Cell number, alkaline phosphatase activity, and mineral deposition increased significantly over time for all the polymer foams. Osteoblast foam constructs created by seeding 6.83 x 105 cells/cm2 on foams with 300-500 μm pores resulted in a cell density of 4.63 x 105 cells/cm2 after 1 day in culture; they had alkaline phosphatase activities of 4.28 x 10-7 and 2.91 x 10 -6 μmol/cell/min on Days 7 and 28, respectively; and they had a cell density that increased to 18.7 x 105 cells/cm2 by Day 56. For the same constructs, the mineralized matrix reached a maximum penetration depth of 240 μm from the top surface of the foam and a value of 0.083 mm for mineralized tissue volume per unit of cross sectional area. Seeding density was an important parameter for the constructs, but pore size over the range tested did not affect cell proliferation or function. This study suggests the feasibility of using poly(α-hydroxy ester) foams as scaffolding materials for the transplantation of autogenous osteoblasts to regenerate bone tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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