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Visualizing osteogenesis in vivo within a cell-scaffold construct for bone tissue engineering using two-photon microscopy.

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      Tissue-engineering therapies have shown early success in the clinic, however, the cell-biomaterial interactions that result in successful outcomes are not yet well understood and are difficult to observe. Here we describe a method for visualizing bone formation within a tissue-engineered construct in vivo, at a single-cell resolution, and in situ in three dimensions using two-photon microscopy. First, two-photon microscopy and histological perspectives were spatially linked using fluorescent reporters for cells in the skeletal lineage. In the process, the tissue microenvironment that precedes a repair-focused study was described. The distribution and organization of type I collagen in the calvarial microenvironment was also described using its second harmonic signal. Second, this platform was used to observe in vivo, for the first time, host cells, donor cells, scaffold, and new bone formation within cell-seeded constructs in a bone defect. We examined constructs during bone repair 4 and 6 weeks after implantation. New bone formed on scaffolds, primarily by donor cells. Host cells formed a new periosteal layer that covered the implant. Scaffold resorption appeared to be site specific, where areas near the top were removed and deeper areas were completely embedded in new mineral. Visualizing the in vivo progression of the cell and scaffold microenvironment will contribute to our understanding of tissue-engineered regeneration and should lead to the development of more streamlined and therapeutically powerful approaches.

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      [1 ] 1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut , Storrs, Connecticut.
      Tissue Eng Part C Methods
      Tissue engineering. Part C, Methods
      Mary Ann Liebert Inc
      Nov 2013
      : 19
      : 11
      23641794 10.1089/ten.TEC.2012.0490 3793663


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