The aim of this chapter is to describe the main issues of bone tissue engineering. Bone transplants are widely used in orthopedic, plastic and reconstructive surgery. Current technologies like autologous and allogenic transplantation have several disadvantages making them relatively unsatisfactory, like donor site morbidity, chronic pain, and immunogenicity and risk hazard from infectious disease. Therefore, regenerative orthopedics seeks to establish a successful protocol for the healing of severe bone damage using engineered bone grafts. The optimization of protocols for bone graft production using autologous mesenchymal stem cells loaded on appropriate scaffolds, exposed to osteogenic inducers and mechanical force in bioreactor, should be able to solve the current limitations in managing bone injuries. We discuss mesenchymal stem cells as the most suitable cell type for bone tissue engineering. They can be isolated from a variety of mesenchymal tissues and can differentiate into osteoblasts when given appropriate mechanical support and osteoinductive signal. Mechanical support can be provided by different cell scaffolds based on natural or synthetic biomaterials, as well as combined composite materials. Three-dimensional support is enabled by bioreactor systems providing several advantages as mechanical loading, homogeneous distribution of cells and adequate nutrients/waste exchange. We also discuss the variety of osteoinductive signals that can be applied in bone tissue engineering. The near future of bone healing and regeneration is closely related to advances in tissue engineering. The optimization of protocols of bone graft production using autologous mesenchymal stem cells loaded on appropriate scaffolds, exposed to osteogenic inducers and mechanical force in bioreactor, should be able to solve the current limitations in managing bone injuries.
Part of the book: Advanced Techniques in Bone Regeneration