In vitro analog of human bone marrow from 3D scaffolds with biomimetic inverted colloidal crystal geometry

Joan E. Nichols, Joaquin Cortiella, Jungwoo Lee, Jean A. Niles, Meghan Cuddihy, Shaopeng Wang, Joseph Bielitzki, Andrea Cantu, Ron Mlcak, Esther Valdivia, Ryan Yancy, Matthew L. McClure, Nicholas A. Kotov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


In vitro replicas of bone marrow can potentially provide a continuous source of blood cells for transplantation and serve as a laboratory model to examine human immune system dysfunctions and drug toxicology. Here we report the development of an in vitro artificial bone marrow based on a 3D scaffold with inverted colloidal crystal (ICC) geometry mimicking the structural topology of actual bone marrow matrix. To facilitate adhesion of cells, scaffolds were coated with a layer of transparent nanocomposite. After seeding with hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), ICC scaffolds were capable of supporting expansion of CD34+ HSCs with B-lymphocyte differentiation. Three-dimensional organization was shown to be critical for production of B cells and antigen-specific antibodies. Functionality of bone marrow constructs was confirmed by implantation of matrices containing human CD34+ cells onto the backs of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice with subsequent generation of human immune cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1079
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Bone marrow
  • Colloidal crystals
  • Scaffolds
  • Stem cell
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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