The objective of this study is to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo osteogenic potential of rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) using chitosan/hydroxyapatite (C/HAp) microbeads as encapsulation matrix under osteoinductive medium and dynamic culture conditions. The degradation characteristics of C/HAp microbeads were evaluated under in vitro and in vivo conditions for 180 days. BM-MSCs were encapsulated in C/HAp microbeads with > 85% viability, and were cultured in a slow turning lateral vessel-type rotating bioreactor simulating microgravity conditions for 28 days, under the effect of osteogenic inducers. MTT assay showed that the metabolic activity of encapsulated cells was preserved > 80% after a week. In vitro experiments confirmed that the encapsulated BM-MSCs differentiated into osteoblastic cells, formed bone-like tissue under osteogenic microgravity bioreactor conditions. Preliminary in vivo study indicated C/HAp microbeads containing BM-MSCs were able to repair the surgically-created small bone defects in the rat femur. BM-MSCs-C/HAp composite microbeads may have potential for modular bone regeneration.
Keywords: Bone tissue engineering; Cell encapsulation; Composite microbeads; Mesenchymal stem cells; Microgravity bioreactor; Osteogenic differentiation.