Scleral ossicles: angiogenic scaffolds, a novel biomaterial for regenerative medicine applications†
Given the current prolonged life expectancy, various pathologies affect increasingly the aging subjects. Regarding the musculoskeletal apparatus, bone fragility induces more susceptibility to fractures, often not accompanied by good ability of self-repairing, in particular when critical-size defects (CSD) occur. Currently orthopedic surgery makes use of allografting and autografting which, however, have limitations due to the scarce amount of tissue that can be taken from the donor, the possibility of disease transmission and donor site morbidity. The need to develop new solutions has pushed the field of tissue engineering (TE) research to study new scaffolds to be functionalized in order to obtain constructs capable of promoting tissue regeneration and achieve stable bone recovery over time. This investigation focuses on the most important aspect related to bone tissue regeneration: the angiogenic properties of the scaffold to be used. As an innovative solution, scleral ossicles (SOs), previously characterized as natural, biocompatible and spontaneously decellularized scaffolds used for bone repair, were tested for angiogenic potential and biocompatibility. To reach this purpose, in ovo Chorioallantoic Membrane Assay (CAM) was firstly used to test the angiogenic potential; secondly, in vivo subcutaneous implantation of SOs (in a rat model) was performed in order to assess the biocompatibility and the inflammatory response. Finally, thanks to the analysis of mass spectrometry (LCMSQE), the putative proteins responsible for the SO angiogenic properties were identified. Thus, a novel natural biomaterial is proposed, which is (i) able to induce an angiogenic response in vivo by subcutaneous implantation in a non-immunodeficient animal model, (ii) which does not induce any inflammatory response, and (iii) is useful for regenerative medicine application for the healing of bone CSD.