Earlier reports on a putative precursor cell population in adipose tissue showed differentiation along several mesodermal lineages, leading some to think that adipose tissue can be a source of cells applicable in regenerative medicine. However, characterizations of these adipose-derived precursor cells (ADPC) in the 3-dimensional (3-D) environment, especially within the area of bone-specific composite scaffolds, have been lacking. In this study, ADPC plated on culture flasks or seeded on medical grade polycaprolactone-tricalcium phosphate scaffolds (mPCL-CaP) were able to differentiate along the osteogenic lineages in both 2-D and 3-D environments as assessed with immunohistochemistry of osteo-related proteins, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reactions and alkaline phosphatase assay. The mPCL-CaP scaffolds provided adipose-derived cells (ADC) with a suitable environment as determined by DNA and metabolic assays, light, confocal and scanning electron microscopy. Flow cytometry revealed ADC to be CD29+, CD44+, CD73+, CD90+ and CD14–, CD31–, CD34–, CD45–, CD71–, and therefore showed the absence of hematopoietic stem cells but possibly the presence of pericytes and mescenchymal stem cells with osteogenic potential. The results of this study demonstrated the potential of using ADPC in combination with mPCL-CaP scaffolds for bone regenerative medicine.
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