Periosteum-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells in engineered implants promote fracture healing in a critical-size defect rat model
An attractive alternative to bone autografts is the use of autologous mesenchymal progenitor cells (MSCs) in combination with biomaterials. We compared the therapeutic potential of different sources of mesenchymal stem cells in combination with biomaterials in a bone nonunion model. A critical-size defect was created in Sprague-Dawley rats. Animals were divided into six groups, depending on the treatment to be applied: bone defect was left empty (CTL); treated with live bone allograft (LBA); hrBMP-2 in collagen scaffold (CSBMP2); acellular polycaprolactone scaffold (PCL group); PCL scaffold containing periosteum-derived MSCs (PCLPMSCs) and PCL containing bone marrow-derived MSCs (PCLBMSCs). To facilitate cell tracking, both MSCs and bone graft were isolated from green fluorescent protein (GFP)-transgenic rats. CTL group did not show any signs of healing during the radiological follow-up (n = 6). In the LBA group, all the animals showed bone bridging (n = 6) whereas in the CSBMP2 group, four out of six animals demonstrated healing. In PCL and PCLPMSCs groups, a reduced number of animals showed radiological healing, whereas no healing was detected in the PCLBMSCs group. Using microcomputed tomography, the bone volume filling the defect was quantified, showing significant new bone formation in the LBA, CSBMP2, and PCLPMSCs groups when compared with the CTL group. At 10 weeks, GFP positive cells were detected only in the LBA group and restricted to the outer cortical bone in close contact with the periosteum. Tracking of cellular implants demonstrated significant survival of the PMSCs when compared with BMSCs. In conclusion, PMSCs improve bone regeneration being suitable for mimetic autograft design.