Critical maxillofacial bone fractures do not heal spontaneously, thus, often there is a need to facilitate repair via surgical intervention. Gold standard approaches, include the use of autologous bone graft, or devices supplemented with osteogenic growth factors and bone substitutes. This research aimed to employ a critical size calvaria defect model, to determine if the addition of chondrocytes to collagen-containing bone graft substitute, may expedite bone repair. As such, using a critical size rat calvaria defect, we implanted a collagen scaffold containing bone graft substitute (i.e., Bone graft scaffold, BG) or BG supplemented with costal chondrocytes (cBG). The rats were subjected to live CT imaging at 1, 6, 9, and 12 weeks following the surgical procedure and sacrificed for microCT imaging of the defect site. Moreover, serum markers and histological evaluation were assessed to determine osseous tissue regeneration and turnover. Live CT and microCT indicated cBG implants displayed expedited bone repair vs, BG alone, already at 6 weeks post defect induction. cBG also displayed a shorter distance between the defect edges and greater mineral apposition distance compared to BG. Summerizing, the data support the addition of chondrocytes to bone substitute, accelerates the formation of new bone within a critical size defect.
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