The Osteogenic Potential of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells for the Repair of Rabbit Calvarial Defects

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Bone replacement is often necessary during reconstruction of craniofacial anomalies or trauma. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) possess osteogenic potential and are a promising cell source for bone tissue engineering. The present study was designed to assess the osteogenic potential and utility of using ASCs to regenerate bone in a rabbit calvarial defect model.


Rabbit ASCs were seeded on gelatin foam (GF) scaffolds and induced in osteogenic medium containing bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2. Thirty-four 8-mm calvarial defects were randomly treated with autograft, no treatment, GF scaffold, GF + ASCs, or GF + osteoinduced ASCs. After 6 weeks, calvaria were harvested and underwent histologic and radiologic analyses to compare healing between the treatment groups.


Defects treated with autograft underwent complete healing. Radiologically, there were no significant (P > 0.05) differences in healing among empty defects, and those treated with GF alone or GF plus osteoinduced ASCs. Osteoinduced ASCs exhibited significantly (P < 0.05) greater healing than noninduced ASCs.


Preimplantation osteoinduction of ASCs enhances their osteogenic capacity. Lack of a significant osteogenic effect of ASCs on calvarial healing at 6 weeks may be secondary to use of noncritical-sized defects. Larger defects would likely demonstrate the osteogenic potential of ASCs more definitively.

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