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Short-Term Evaluation of Cellular Fate in an Ovine Bone Formation Model.

Short-Term Evaluation of Cellular Fate in an Ovine Bone Formation Model. Thumbnail


The ovine critical-sized defect model provides a robust preclinical model for testing tissue-engineered constructs for use in the treatment of non-union bone fractures and severe trauma. A critical question in cell-based therapies is understanding the optimal therapeutic cell dose. Key to defining the dose and ensuring successful outcomes is understanding the fate of implanted cells, e.g., viability, bio-distribution and exogenous infiltration post-implantation. This study evaluates such parameters in an ovine critical-sized defect model 2 and 7 days post-implantation. The fate of cell dose and behaviour post-implantation when combined with nanomedicine approaches for multi-model tracking and remote control using external magnetic fields is also addressed. Autologous STRO-4 selected mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) were labelled with a fluorescent lipophilic dye (CM-Dil), functionalised magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and delivered to the site within a naturally derived bone extracellular matrix (ECM) gel. Encapsulated cells were implanted within a critical-sized defect in an ovine medial femoral condyle and exposed to dynamic gradients of external magnetic fields for 1 h per day. Sheep were sacrificed at 2 and 7 days post-initial surgery where ECM was harvested. STRO-4-positive (STRO-4+) stromal cells expressed osteocalcin and survived within the harvested gels at day 2 and day 7 with a 50% loss at day 2 and a further 45% loss at 7 days. CD45-positive leucocytes were also observed in addition to endogenous stromal cells. No elevation in serum C-reactive protein (CRP) or non-haem iron levels was observed following implantation in groups containing MNPs with or without magnetic field gradients. The current study demonstrates how numbers of therapeutic cells reduce substantially after implantation in the repair site. Cell death is accompanied by enhanced leucocyte invasion, but not by inflammatory blood marker levels. Crucially, a proportion of implanted STRO-4+ stromal cells expressed osteocalcin, which is indicative of osteogenic differentiation. Furthermore, MNP labelling did not alter cell number or result in a further deleterious impact on stromal cells following implantation.


(2021). Short-Term Evaluation of Cellular Fate in an Ovine Bone Formation Model. Cells,

Acceptance Date Jul 9, 2021
Publication Date Jul 14, 2021
Journal Cells
Publisher MDPI
Publisher URL


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