Dextrin hydrogel loaded with a macroporous Bonelike® scaffold and dental pulp stem cells for critical-sized defect repair

Alexandra Machado, Isabel Pereira, José Eduardo Pereira, Luís Maltez, Ana Brandão, Rui Alvites, Ana Catarina Sousa, Mariana Branquinho, Ana Rita Caseiro, Sílvia Santos Pedrosa, Ana Colette Maurício, Isabel Pires, Justina Prada, José Domingos Santos, Miguel Gama*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Regeneration of severe bone defects remains a challenge. A formulation of synthetic glass-reinforced hydroxyapatite bone substitute, Bonelike® Poro (BL®P), 250–500 µm-diameter, with a dextrin-based hydrogel (HG), further loaded with human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) with osteogenic differentiation ability, was tested for the management of critical-sized defects in an ovine model. Morphology, calcium release, and mechanical strength of HG + BL®P were analyzed. Then, BL®P, HG + BL®P, and 106 hDPSCs-loaded HG + BL®P were implanted in ovine critical-sized 14 mm-diameter calvaria defects. Bone samples were collected after 3 and 6 weeks for histological and micro-CT analysis. BL®P exhibits a suitable porous size for cell ingrowth, from the nm (>200 nm) to the µm (5 µm) range. The addition of BL®P granules to the HG resulted in increased compressive elastic modulus and ultimate tensile strength. The mildly acidic nature of the HG contributed to a faster dissolution of granules. In vivo results confirmed the HG suitability as a carrier, providing better defect filling, easy handling, and injectability of BL®P without compromising new bone formation nor biocompatibility. The HG + BL®P formulations can successfully regenerate critical-sized defects; however, addition of hDPSCs did not significantly enhance new bone formation under these conditions. Granular BL®P provides an effective alternative to autologous grafts. The HG acts as a biocompatible carrier of granular bone substitutes and cells, conferring injectability and cohesivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101859
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Bone regeneration
  • Dental pulp
  • Dextrin
  • Hydrogel
  • Injectable
  • Stem cells


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