Dental pulp stem cells in chitosan/gelatin scaffolds for enhanced orofacial bone regeneration

Athina Bakopoulou, Αnthie Georgopoulou, Ioannis Grivas, Chryssa Bekiari, Oleg Prymak, Κateryna Loza, Matthias Epple, George C. Papadopoulos, Petros Koidis, Μaria Chatzinikolaidou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Biomimetic chitosan/gelatin (CS/Gel) scaffolds have attracted great interest in tissue engineering of several tissues. However, limited information exists regarding the potential of combining CS/Gel scaffolds with oral cells, such as dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs), to produce customized constructs targeting alveolar/orofacial bone reconstruction, which has been the aim of the present study. Methods: Two scaffold types, designated as CS/Gel-0.1 and CS/Gel-1, were fabricated using 0.1 and 1% (v/v) respectively of the crosslinker glutaraldehyde (GTA). Scaffolds (n = 240) were seeded with DPSCs with/without pre-exposure to recombinant human BMP-2. In vitro assessment included DPSCs characterization (flow cytometry), evaluation of viability/proliferation (live/dead staining, metabolic-based tests), osteo/odontogenic gene expression analysis (qRT-PCR) and structural/chemical characterization (scanning electron microscopy, SEM; energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, EDX; X-ray powder diffraction, XRD; thermogravimetry, TG). In vivo assessment included implantation of DPSC-seeded scaffolds in immunocompromised mice, followed by histology and SEM-EDX. Statistical analysis employed one/two-way ANOVA and Tukey's post-hoc tests (significance for p < 0.05). Results: Both scaffolds supported cell viability/proliferation over 14 days in culture, showing extensive formation of a hydroxyapatite-rich nanocrystalline calcium phosphate phase. Differential expression patterns indicated GTA concentration to significantly affect the expression of osteo/odontogenic genes, with CS/Gel-0.1 scaffolds being more effective in upregulating DSPP, IBSP and Osterix. In vivo analysis demonstrated time-dependent production of a nanocrystalline, mineralized matrix at 6, 8 and 10 weeks, being more prominent in constructs bearing rhBMP-2 pre-treated cells. The latter showed higher amounts of osteoid and fully mineralized bone, as well as empty space reduction. Significance: These results reveal a promising strategy for orofacial bone tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-327
Number of pages18
JournalDental Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioinspired chitosan/gelatin scaffolds
  • Dental pulp stem cells
  • Orofacial bone regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials

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