Bioreactors provide a dynamic culture system for efficient exchange of nutrients and mechanical stimulus necessary for the generation of effective tissue engineered bone grafts (TEBG). We have shown that biaxial rotating (BXR) bioreactor-matured human fetal mesenchymal stem cell (hfMSC) mediated-TEBG can heal a rat critical sized femoral defect. However, it is not known whether optimal bioreactors exist for bone TE (BTE) applications. We systematically compared this BXR bioreactor with three most commonly used systems: Spinner Flask (SF), Perfusion and Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV) bioreactors, for their application in BTE. The BXR bioreactor achieved higher levels of cellularity and confluence (1.4-2.5x, p < 0.05) in large 785 mm(3) macroporous scaffolds not achieved in the other bioreactors operating in optimal settings. BXR bioreactor-treated scaffolds experienced earlier and more robust osteogenic differentiation on von Kossa staining, ALP induction (1.2-1.6x, p < 0.01) and calcium deposition (1.3 -2.3 x, p < 0.01). We developed a Micro a quantification method which demonstrated homogenous distribution of hfMSC in BXR bioreactor-treated grafts, but not with the other three. BXR bioreactor enabled superior cellular proliferation, spatial distribution and osteogenic induction of hfMSC over other commonly used bioreactors. In addition, we developed and validated a non-invasive quantitative micro CT-based technique for analyzing neo-tissue formation and its spatial distribution within scaffolds. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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