Autologous stem cell regeneration in craniosynostosis

Bone. 2008 Feb;42(2):332-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2007.10.004. Epub 2007 Oct 17.


Craniosynostosis occurs in one of 2500 live human births and may manifest as craniofacial disfiguration, seizure, and blindness. Craniotomy is performed to reshape skull bones and resect synostosed cranial sutures. We demonstrate for the first time that autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and controlled-released TGFbeta3 reduced surgical trauma to localized osteotomy and minimized osteogenesis in a rat craniosynostosis model. Approximately 0.5 mL tibial marrow content was aspirated to isolate mononucleated and adherent cells that were characterized as MSCs. Upon resecting the synostosed suture, autologous MSCs in collagen carriers with microencapsulated TGFbeta3 (1 ng/mL) generated cranial suture analogs characterized as bone-soft tissue-bone interface by quantitative histomorphometric and microCT analyses. Thus, surgical trauma in craniosynostosis can be minimized by a biologically viable implant. We speculate that proportionally larger amounts of human marrow aspirates participate in the healing of craniosynostosis defects in patients. The engineered soft tissue-bone interface may have implications in the repair of tendons, ligaments, periosteum and periodontal ligament.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Craniosynostoses / pathology*
  • Craniosynostoses / surgery*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Osteotomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Regeneration*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta3 / pharmacology
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta3