Aim: To develop a biological scaffold that could be moulded to reproduce the geometry of a gutta-percha point with precision and allow the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts to be used as a regenerative endodontic material.
Methodology: A collagen/alginate composite scaffold was cast into a sodium alginate mould to produce a gutta-percha point-like cone. Prior to gelation, the cone was seeded with human stem cells from the apical papilla (SCAPs) to evaluate cell/scaffold interactions. The reconstructed tissue was characterized after 8 days in culture. Elastic modulus, tissue compaction and cell differentiation were assessed. Student t-tests and the Mann-Whitney U test were performed.
Results: The fabrication method developed enabled the shape of a gutta-percha point to be mimicked with great accuracy and reproducibility (P = 0.31). Stem cells seeded into this composite scaffold were able to spread, survive and proliferate (P < 0.001). Moreover, they were able to differentiate into osteoblasts and produce calcified osseous extracellular matrix (P < 0.001). The construct showed no significant contraction after 8 days, preserving its shape and tip diameter (P = 0.58).
Conclusions: The composite scaffold could present substantial benefits compared to synthetic materials. It could provide a favourable healing environment in the root canal conducive for regenerative endodontics and is therefore appropriate to be evaluated in vivo in further studies.
Keywords: adult stem cells; cell differentiation; endodontics; hydrogel; regenerative medicine; tissue engineering.
© 2015 International Endodontic Journal. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.