Human bone marrow stromal cells: In vitro expansion and differentiation for bone engineering

G. Ciapetti, L. Ambrosio, G. Marletta, N. Baldini, A. Giunti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stromal cells from marrow hold a great promise for bone regeneration. Even if they are already being exploited in many clinical settings, the biological basis for the source and maintenance of their proliferation/differentiation potential after in vitro isolation and expansion needs further investigation. Most studies on osteogenic differentiation of marrow stromal cells (MSC) have been performed using bone marrow from the iliac crest. In this study, MSC were derived from spare femoral bone marrow obtained during hip replacement surgery from 20 adult donors. After in vitro isolation the cells were grown in osteogenic medium, and their proliferation and differentiation analysed during in vitro expansion. We found that MSC isolated from the femur of adult patients consistently maintain an osteogenic potential. Using biochemical signals, these cells turn to fully differentiated osteoblasts with a predictable set of molecular and phenotypic events of in vitro bone deposition. When seeded on polycaprolactone-based scaffold or surfaces, the proliferation and mineralization of femur-derived MSC were modulated by the surface chemistry/topography. Despite remarkable differences between individual colony-forming ability, alkaline phosphatase production, and mineralization ability, these cells are a potential source for bone engineering, either by direct autologous reimplantation or by ex vivo expansion and reimplantation combined to a proper scaffold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6150-6160
Number of pages11
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Bone marrow
  • Bone regeneration
  • Bone tissue engineering
  • In vitro test
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Osteoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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