Comparative study of desktop- and synchrotron radiation-based micro computed tomography analyzing cell-seeded scaffolds in tissue engineering of bone


In the field of tissue engineering, micro computed tomography (μCT) should allow non-destructively assessing the extra-cellular matrix deposited by cells within porous scaffolds in-vitro. While synchrotron radiation-based μCT combines micrometer resolution with a high signal-to-noise ratio (contrast), recent advances in desktop μCT devices have achieved comparable results with benefits in availability and user-friendliness. In this study we compare the performance of the commercially available, entry-level desktop device 1174 (SkyScan, Belgium) with the μCT at HASYLAB (DESY, Hamburg, Germany) by characterizing porous interconnected 3D scaffolds and monitoring the development of engineered human bone constructs upon culture in such an environment. Expansion of human osteogenic cells has been performed with the use of perfusion bioreactors and 3D scaffolds, serving as cell carriers. Constructs based on low X-ray absorbing, rapid-prototyped fibrous scaffolds were analyzed with a nominal spatial resolution of better than 5 μm. Direct 3D image analysis allowed for the accurate quantification of the scaffold morphometry parameters, where both μCT techniques yielded comparable results. However, due to the monochromatic nature of X-rays available at the synchrotron radiation source, drastically reduced beam hardening effects and higher density resolution (higher dynamic range) has been obtained at HASYLAB. Studies in this direction could be useful to highlight the mechanisms that are involved in bone-like tissue growth and to further understand how it can be affected by the choice of cell type, 3D culture environment and scaffold type and architecture.
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