Measuring mineralised tissue formation and resorption in a human 3d osteoblast-osteoclast co-culture model

S Remmers, D Mayer, J Melke, K Ito, S Hofmann

Published: 2020

Abstract: In vitro tissue engineered bone constructs have been developed, but models which mimic both formation and resorption in parallel are still lacking. To be used as a model for the bone remodeling process, the formation and resorption of mineralised tissue volume over time needs to be visualised, localised and quantified. The goal of this study was to develop a human 3D osteoblast-osteoclast co-culture in which 1) osteoblasts deposit mineralised matrix, 2) monocytes differentiate into resorbing osteoclasts, and 3) the formation and resorption of mineralised matrix could be quantified over time using micro-computed tomography (μCT). Mesenchymal stromal cells were seeded on silk fibroin scaffolds and differentiated towards osteoblasts to create mineralised constructs. Thereafter, monocytes were added and differentiated towards osteoclasts. The presence of osteoblasts and osteoclasts was confirmed using immunohistochemistry. Osteoclastic activity was confirmed by measuring the increased release of osteoclast marker tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), suggesting that osteoclasts were actively resorbing mineralised tissue. Resorption pits were visualised using scanning electron microscopy. Mineralised matrix formation and resorption were quantified using μCT and subsequent scans were registered to visualise remodelling. Both formation and resorption occurred in parallel in the co-culture. The resorbed tissue volume exceeded the formed tissue volume after day 12. In conclusion, the current model was able to visualise, localise and quantify mineralised matrix formation and resorption. Such a model could be used to facilitate fundamental research on bone remodeling, facilitate drug testing and may have clinical implications in personalised medicine by allowing the use of patient cells.

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