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In vitro angiogenesis in response to biomaterial properties for bone tissue engineering: a review of the state of the art.

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Ellermann, Else 
Meyer, Nima 
Cameron, Ruth E 
Best, Serena M 


Bone tissue engineering (BTE) aims to improve the healing of bone fractures using scaffolds that mimic the native extracellular matrix. For successful bone regeneration, scaffolds should promote simultaneous bone tissue formation and blood vessel growth for nutrient and waste exchange. However, a significant challenge in regenerative medicine remains the development of grafts that can be vascularized successfully. Amongst other things, optimization of physicochemical conditions of scaffolds is key to achieving appropriate angiogenesis in the period immediately following implantation. Calcium phosphates and collagen scaffolds are two of the most widely studied biomaterials for BTE, due to their close resemblance to inorganic and organic components of bone, respectively, and their bioactivity, tunable biodegradability and the ability to produce tailored architectures. While various strategies exist to enhance vascularization of these scaffolds in vivo, further in vitro assessment is crucial to understand the relation between physicochemical properties of a biomaterial and its ability to induce angiogenesis. While mono-culture studies can provide evidence regarding cell-material interaction of a single cell type, a co-culture procedure is crucial for assessing the complex mechanisms involved in angiogenesis. A co-culture more closely resembles the natural tissue both physically and biologically by stimulating natural intercellular interactions and mimicking the organization of the in vivo environment. Nevertheless, a co-culture is a complex system requiring optimization of various parameters including cell types, cell ratio, culture medium and seeding logistics. Gaining fundamental knowledge of the mechanism behind the bioactivity of biomaterials and understanding the contribution of surface and architectural features to the vascularization of scaffolds, and the biological response in general, can provide an invaluable basis for future optimization studies. This review gives an overview of the available literature on scaffolds for BTE, and trends are extracted on the relationship between architectural features, biochemical properties, co-culture parameters and angiogenesis.


Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; DOI:


angiogenesis, architectural features, co-culture, collagen scaffolds, hydroxyapatite, physicochemical properties

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Regen Biomater

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Oxford University Press (OUP)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N019938/1)
This research was financially supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Geistlich Pharma AG, REC, SMB and DVB also acknowledge funding from EPSRC for an Established Career Fellowship, Grant No. EP/N019938/1