Optimizing Collagen Scaffolds for Bone Engineering: Effects of Cross-linking and Mineral Content on Structural Contraction and Osteogenesis : Journal of Craniofacial Surgery

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Optimizing Collagen Scaffolds for Bone Engineering

Effects of Cross-linking and Mineral Content on Structural Contraction and Osteogenesis

Lee, Justine C. MD, PhD*,†; Pereira, Clifford T. MBBS*,†; Ren, Xiaoyan MD, PhD*,†; Huang, Weibiao PhD*,†; Bischoff, David PhD; Weisgerber, Daniel W. BA§; Yamaguchi, Dean T. MD, PhD; Harley, Brendan A. ScD§; Miller, Timothy A. MD*,†

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Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 26(6):p 1992-1996, September 2015. | DOI: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000001918



Osseous defects of the craniofacial skeleton occur frequently in congenital, posttraumatic, and postoncologic deformities. The field of scaffold-based bone engineering emerged to address the limitations of using autologous bone for reconstruction of such circumstances. In this work, the authors evaluate 2 modifications of three-dimensional collagen-glycosaminoglycan scaffolds in an effort to optimize structural integrity and osteogenic induction.


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were cultured in osteogenic media on nonmineralized collagen-glycosaminoglycan (C-GAG) and nanoparticulate mineralized collagen-glycosaminoglycan (MC-GAG) type I scaffolds, in the absence and presence of cross-linking. At 1, 7, and 14 days, mRNA expression was analyzed using quantitative real-time -reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for osteocalcin (OCN) and bone sialoprotein (BSP). Structural contraction was measured by the ability of the scaffolds to maintain their original dimensions. Mineralization was detected by microcomputed tomographic (micro-CT) imaging at 8 weeks. Statistical analyses were performed with Student t-test.


Nanoparticulate mineralization of collagen-glycosaminoglycan scaffolds increased expression of both OCN and BSP. Cross-linking of both C-GAG and MC-GAG resulted in decreased osteogenic gene expression; however, structural contraction was significantly decreased after cross-linking. Human mesenchymal stem cells-directed mineralization, detected by micro-CT, was increased in nanoparticulate mineralized scaffolds, although the density of mineralization was decreased in the presence of cross-linking.


Optimization of scaffold material is an essential component of moving toward clinically translatable engineered bone. Our current study demonstrates that the combination of nanoparticulate mineralization and chemical cross-linking of C-GAG scaffolds generates a highly osteogenic and structurally stable scaffold.

© 2015 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.

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