Bone lesions above a critical size become scarred rather than regenerated, leading to nonunion. We have attempted to obtain a greater degree of regeneration by using a resorbable scaffold with regeneration-competent cells to recreate an embryonic environment in injured adult tissues, and thus improve clinical outcome. We have used a combination of a coral scaffold with in vitro-expanded marrow stromal cells (MSC) to increase osteogenesis more than that obtained with the scaffold alone or the scaffold plus fresh bone marrow. The efficiency of the various combinations was assessed in a large segmental defect model in sheep. The tissue-engineered artificial bone underwent morphogenesis leading to complete recorticalization and the formation of a medullary canal with mature lamellar cortical bone in the most favorable cases. Clinical union never occurred when the defects were left empty or filled with the scaffold alone. In contrast, clinical union was obtained in three out of seven operated limbs when the defects were filled with the tissue-engineered bone.
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We thank Inoteb (France) for donating the coral implants (Biocoral), Mrs M. Vallot for animal care and the Fondation pour l'Avenir ET8-263, Assistance Publique des Hopitaux de Paris AP-HP 97-002, CNRS and INSERM for financial support.
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Petite, H., Viateau, V., Bensaïd, W. et al. Tissue-engineered bone regeneration. Nat Biotechnol 18, 959–963 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/79449
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