Angiogenesis in Calcium Phosphate Scaffolds by Inorganic Copper Ion Release

Jake Barralet, Uwe Gbureck, Pamela Habibovic, Elke Vorndran, Catherine Gerard, Charles J. Doillon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

168 Citations (Web of Science)


Angiogenesis in a tissue-engineered device may be induced by incorporating growth factors (e. g., vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]), genetically modified cells, and/or vascular cells. It represents an important process during the formation and repair of tissue and is essential for nourishment and supply of reparative and immunological cells. Inorganic angiogenic factors, such as copper ions, are therefore of interest in the fields of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering due to their low cost, higher stability, and potentially greater safety compared with recombinant proteins or genetic engineering approaches. The purpose of this study was to compare tissue responses to 3D printed macroporous bioceramic scaffolds implanted in mice that had been loaded with either VEGF or copper sulfate. These factors were spatially localized at the end of a single macropore some 7 mm from the surface of the scaffold. Controls without angiogenic factors exhibited only poor tissue growth within the blocks; in contrast, low doses of copper sulfate led to the formation of microvessels oriented along the macropore axis. Further, wound tissue ingrowth was particularly sensitive to the quantity of copper sulfate and was enhanced at specific concentrations or in combination with VEGF. The potential to accelerate and guide angiogenesis and wound healing by copper ion release without the expense of inductive protein(s) is highly attractive in the area of tissue-engineered bone and offers significant future potential in the field of regenerative biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1609
Number of pages9
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • VEGF

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