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The Effect of Pore Directionality of Collagen Scaffolds on Cell Differentiation and In Vivo Osteogenesis

Although many bone substitutes have been designed and produced, the development of bone tissue engineering products that mimic the microstructural characteristics of native bone remains challenging. It has been shown that pore orientation within collagen scaffolds influences bone matrix formation by the endochondral route. In addition, that the unidirectional orientation of the scaffolds can limit the growth of blood vessels. However, a comparison between the amount of bone that can be formed in scaffolds with different pore orientations in addition to analyzing the effect of loading osteogenic and proangiogenic factors is still required. In this work we fabricated uni- and multidirectional collagen sponges and evaluated their microstructural, physicochemical, mechanical and biological characteristics. Although the porosity and average pore size of the uni- and multidirectional scaffolds was similar (94.5% vs. 97.1% and 260 µm vs. 269 µm, respectively) the unidirectional sponges had a higher tensile strength, Young’s modulus and capacity to uptake liquids than the multidirectional ones (0.271 MPa vs. 0.478 MPa, 9.623 MPa vs. 3.426 MPa and 8000% mass gain vs. 4000%, respectively). Culturing of rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells demonstrated that these scaffolds support cell growth and osteoblastic differentiation in the presence of BMP-2 in vitro, although the pore orientation somehow affected cell attachment and differentiation. The evaluation of the ability of the scaffolds to support bone growth when loaded with BMP-2 or BMP-2 + VEGF in an ectopic rat model showed that they both supported bone formation. Histological analysis and quantification of mineralized matrix revealed that the pore orientation of the collagen scaffolds influenced the osteogenic process.

Publication date: 20/09/2021

Author: Miguelangel Moncayo-Donoso

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13183187

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.