Scaffold pore size modulates in vitro osteogenesis of human adipose-derived stem/stromal cells

Pinar Yilgor Huri, B. Arda Ozilgen, Daphne L. Hutton, Warren L. Grayson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Trabecular bone has an interconnected porous structure, which influences cellular responses, biochemical transport and mechanical strength. Appropriately mimicking this structural organization in biomaterial scaffolds can facilitate more robust bone tissue regeneration and integration by providing a native microenvironment to the cells. This study examined the effect of pore size on human adipose-derived stem/stromal cell (ASC) osteogenesis within poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds. Scaffold pore size was controlled by porogen leaching of custom-made paraffin particles with three different size ranges: P200 (< 500 μm), P500 (500-1000 μm), and P1000 (1000-1500 μm). Scaffolds produced by leaching these particles exhibited highly interconnected pores and rough surface structures that were favorable for cell attachment and ingrowth. The osteogenic response of ASCs was evaluated following 3 weeks of in vitro culture using biochemical (ALP, Ca2+/DNA content), mechanical (compression test) and histological (H&E and von Kossa staining) analyses. It was observed that while the total number of cells was similar for all scaffolds, the cell distributions and osteogenic properties were affected by the scaffold pore size. ASCs were able to bridge smaller pores and grow uniformly within these scaffolds (P200) while they grew as a layer along the periphery of the largest pores (P1000). The cell-biomaterial interactions specific to the latter case led to enhanced osteogenic responses. The ALP activity and Ca2+ deposition were doubled in P1000 scaffolds as compared to P200 scaffolds. A significant difference was observed between the compressive strength of unseeded and seeded P1000 scaffolds. Therefore, we demonstrated that the use of scaffolds with pores that are in the range of 1 mm enhances in vitro ASC osteogenesis, which may improve their performance in engineered bone substitutes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045003
JournalBiomedical Materials (Bristol)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


  • PCL scaffold
  • adipose-derived stem/stromal cell
  • osteogenesis
  • paraffin particles
  • pore size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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