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Open Access Endothelial Progenitor Cells Improve Directly and Indirectly Early Vascularization of Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Driven Bone Regeneration in a Critical Bone Defect in Rats

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Early vascularization of a composite in a critical bone defect is a prerequisite for ingrowth of osteogenic reparative cells to regenerate bone, since lack of vessels does not ensure a sufficient nutritional support of the bone graft. The innovation of this study was to investigate the direct and indirect effects of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and cotransplanted mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on the in vivo neovascularization activity in a critical size defect at the early phase of endochondral ossification. Cultivated human EPCs and MSCs were loaded onto β-TCP in vitro. A critical-sized bone defect (5 mm) was created surgically in the femoral diaphysis of adult athymic rat and stabilized with an external fixateur. The bone defects were filled with β-TCP, MSCs seeded on β-TCP, EPCs seeded on β-TCP, and coculture of MSCs and EPCs seeded on β-TCP or autologous bone of rat. After 1 week, the rats were sacrificed. Using quantitative CD34 immunohistochemistry as well as qualitative analysis of vascularization (staining of MHC and VEGF) in decalcified serial sections were performed by means of an image analysis system. Fluorescence microscopy analyzed the direct effects and indirect effects of human implanted EPCs for vessel formation at bone regeneration site. Formation of a primitive vascular plexus was also detectable in the β-TCP, MSC, or autologous bone group, but on a significantly higher level if EPCs alone or combined with MSCs were transplanted. Moreover, highest amount of vascularization were detected when EPCs and MSCs together were implanted. Early vascularization is improved by transplanted EPCs, which formed new vessels directly. Indeed the indirect effect of EPCs to vascularization is much higher. Transplanted EPC release chemotactic factors (VEGF) to recruit EPCs of the host and stimulate vascularization in the bone defect. Transplantation of human EPCs displays a promising approach to improve early vascularization of a scaffold in a critical bone defect. Moreover, coculture of EPCs and MSCs demonstrate also a synergistic effect on new vessel formation and seems to be a potential osteogenic construct for in vivo application.
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Keywords: Bone regeneration; Cell transplantation; Coculture of EPCs and MSCs; Critical size defect; Early vascularization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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