Differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts on honeycomb collagen scaffolds

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2006 Oct 20;95(3):404-11. doi: 10.1002/bit.20939.


Tissue engineering using living cells is emerging as an alternative to tissue or organ transplantation. The adult mesenchymal stem cells can be differentiated into multilineage cells, such as adipocytes, chondrocytes, or osteoblasts when cultured with specific growth factors. In the present investigation, we have studied the effect of honeycomb collagen scaffolds for the adhesion, differentiation and proliferation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts. Mesenchymal stem cells were isolated from 6-week old albino rat femur bone marrow, and cultured in alpha-MEM medium without beta-glycerophosphate and dexamethasone. Honeycomb collagen discs were prepared from bovine dermal atelocollagen, cross-linked by UV-irradiation and sterilized by heat. The honeycomb discs were placed on the culture dishes before seeding the stem cells. The cells attached quickly to the honeycomb collagen scaffold, differentiated and proliferated into osteoblasts. The differentiated osteoblasts were characterized by morphological examination and alkaline phosphatase activity. The osteoblasts also synthesized calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite (pseudo-hydroxyapatite) crystals in the culture. The mineralization was confirmed by Von Kossa staining and the crystals were analyzed by X-ray diffraction. Light microscopy and DNA measurements showed that the differentiated osteoblasts multiplied into several layers on the honeycomb collagen scaffold. The results demonstrated that the honeycomb collagen sponge is an excellent scaffold for the differentiation and proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts. The data further proved that honeycomb collagen is an effective substrate for tissue engineering applications, and is very useful in the advancing field of stem cell technology and cell-based therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Collagen* / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Osteoblasts / enzymology
  • Osteoblasts / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Culture Techniques / methods
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • atelocollagen
  • Collagen
  • Alkaline Phosphatase