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An ideal cell source for bone tissue engineering?


Bone tissue engineering is an exciting field, and in this study van Gastel et al. identified a potentially ideal source of cells for bone regeneration. The group focused on periosteum-derived cells in mice (mPDC), which are known to stimulate bone formation and neo-vascularization.

mPDC were first isolated from the periosteum of adult mice; analyses showed that over half of these cells expressed one of the major markers of mesenchymal cells – CD105, CD90, CD73 or Sca-1. The mPDC also showed the ability to differentiate into three major cell types; osteocytes, adipocytes and chondrocytes.

mPDC were placed within a collagen–calcium phosphate matrix that had been previously implanted into nude mice and removed after six weeks. Analysis showed newly formed bone tissue, with differentiated osteoblasts present on the bone surface. Further experiments showed that mPDC produce vascular endothelial growth factor, which helps endothelial cells to survive and proliferate. When mPDC were implanted with endothelial cells, the periosteum-derived cells were able to enhance the formation of new blood vessels as well as new bone.

Editor's comment: This study highlights that periosteal cells contribute to fracture repair, not only through their strong osteogenic potential, but also through their pro-angiogenic features, and could provide an ideal cell source for bone regeneration therapies.

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