Artificial bone culture
A new experimental model of living bone tissue is created.
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the organoid Tiny masses of cells that mimic the anatomy and functions of an organ, grown in the laboratory, are becoming increasingly important in medical research. Micro-models of the brain, lungs, and other organs have existed for years, but models of bone tissue are very difficult to obtain. Bone is a separate issue because the different types of cells coexist immersed in an extracellular matrix, a network of collagen and minerals subject to continuous remodeling. Previous attempts to create a bone organoid have failed to closely mimic the way human bone cells form in parallel with that matrix and the interactions with it. However,
A study published in Advanced Functional Materialspresents the first organoid to incorporate a “unified view” of the early stages of osteogenesis (bone formation), according to lead author Anat Akiva, a cell biologist at Radboud University Medical Center. She and her collaborators discovered that by applying a mechanical force that simulates the stresses that shape bones in the human body, it is possible to cause bone marrow precursor cells to transform into osteoblasts (bone producers) and osteocytes (regulators). growth), which together make all the proteins they need to function. The devised process also led to the growth of an extracellular matrix very similar to that of human bone tissue. After four weeks of culture, the end result is a miniature cylinder of fibrous tissue,
- They manage to create bones, muscles and cartilage with a 3D bioprinter
The new tool would serve to closely observe what happens on a molecular scale when the osteogenesis process fails and causes bone disorders that affect millions of people around the world. One of them is osteogenesis imperfecta, or “crystal bone disease,” a genetic disorder that weakens the extracellular matrix and causes hundreds of spontaneous fractures throughout life. Bone cancer such as osteosarcoma also alters bone formation and this new model would allow investigating the infiltration of tumor cells into the extracellular matrix and the extemporaneous manufacture of bone that they unleash.
Bone organoids could also help doctors create personalized treatments, says Ralph Müller, deputy director of the Institute for Biomechanics at ETH Zurich, who was not involved in the study. Before designing the treatment plan, organoids will be cultured from living tissue samples from the patient to explore how their bones would respond to various interventions.
“We have a reliable system for manufacturing bone tissue, with which we can fine-tune a lot, study exactly what is wrong and find out if there is a solution,” Akiva concludes.