Distinctive Capillary Action by Micro-channels in Bone-like Templates can Enhance Recruitment of Cells for Restoration of Large Bony Defect

J Vis Exp. 2015 Sep 11;(103):52947. doi: 10.3791/52947.


Without an active, thriving cell population that is well-distributed and stably anchored to the inserted template, exceptional bone regeneration does not occur. With conventional templates, the absence of internal micro-channels results in the lack of cell infiltration, distribution, and inhabitance deep inside the templates. Hence, a highly porous and uniformly interconnected trabecular-bone-like template with micro-channels (biogenic microenvironment template; BMT) has been developed to address these obstacles. The novel BMT was created by innovative concepts (capillary action) and fabricated with a sponge-template coating technique. The BMT consists of several structural components: inter-connected primary-pores (300-400 µm) that mimic pores in trabecular bone, micro-channels (25-70 µm) within each trabecula, and nanopores (100-400 nm) on the surface to allow cells to anchor. Moreover, the BMT has been documented by mechanical test study to have similar mechanical strength properties to those of human trabecular bone (~3.8 MPa)12. The BMT exhibited high absorption, retention, and habitation of cells throughout the bridge-shaped (Π) templates (3 cm height and 4 cm length). The cells that were initially seeded into one end of the templates immediately mobilized to the other end (10 cm distance) by capillary action of the BMT on the cell media. After 4 hr, the cells homogenously occupied the entire BMT and exhibited normal cellular behavior. The capillary action accounted for the infiltration of the cells suspended in the media and the distribution (active migration) throughout the BMT. Having observed these capabilities of the BMT, we project that BMTs will absorb bone marrow cells, growth factors, and nutrients from the periphery under physiological conditions. The BMT may resolve current limitations via rapid infiltration, homogenous distribution and inhabitance of cells in large, volumetric templates to repair massive skeletal defects.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Bone Regeneration / physiology*
  • Bone and Bones / blood supply
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Capillary Action
  • Humans
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds*
  • Wound Healing / physiology