Assessment of bone formation capacity using in vivo transplantation assays: procedure and tissue analysis

Methods Mol Biol. 2008;455:89-100. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-104-8_6.


In vivo assessment of bone formation (osteogenesis) potential by isolated cells is an important method for analysis of cells and factors control ling bone formation. Currently, cell implantation mixed with hydroxyapa-tite/tricalcium phosphate in an open system (subcutaneous implantation) in immunodeficient mice is the standard method for in vivo assessment of bone formation capacity of a particular cell type. The method is easy to perform and provides reproducible results. Assessment of the donor origin of tissue formation is possible, especially in the case of human-to-mouse transplanta tion, by employing human specific antibodies or in situ hybridization using human specific Alu-repeat probes. Recently, several methods have been developed to quantitate the newly formed bone using histomorphometric methods or using non-invasive imaging methods. This chapter describes the use of in vivo transplantation methods in testing bone formationpotential of human mesenchymal stem cells.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology
  • Bone and Bones* / cytology
  • Bone and Bones* / physiology
  • Calcium Phosphates / chemistry
  • Calcium Phosphates / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Durapatite / chemistry
  • Durapatite / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Osteogenesis*
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Tissue Engineering / methods


  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Durapatite
  • tricalcium phosphate