Co–culture systems of osteoblasts and osteoclasts: Simulating in vitro bone remodeling in regenerative approaches

Acta Biomaterialia 108 (2020)
Giorgia Borciani, Giorgia Montalbano, Nicola Baldini, Giorgia Cerqueni, Chiara Vitale-Brovarone, Gabriela Ciapetti

Bone is an extremely dynamic tissue, undergoing continuous remodeling for its whole lifetime, but its regeneration or augmentation due to bone loss or defects are not always easy to obtain. Bone tissue engineering (BTE) is a promising approach, and its success often relies on a smartscaffold, as a sup- port to host and guide bone formation through bone cell precursors. Bone homeostasis is maintained by osteoblasts (OBs) and osteoclasts (OCs) within the basic multicellular unit, in a consecutive cycle of resorption and formation. Therefore, a functional scaffold should allow the best possible OB/OC cooper- ation for bone remodeling, as happens within the bone extracellular matrix in the body. In the present work OB/OC co-culture models, with and without scaffolds, are reviewed. These experimental systems are intended for different targets, including bone remodeling simulation, drug testing and the assessment of biomaterials and 3D scaffolds for BTE. As a consequence, several parameters, such as cell type, cell ratio, culture medium and inducers, culture times and setpoints, assay methods, etc. vary greatly. This review identifies and systematically reports the in vitro methods explored up to now, which, as they al- low cellular communication, more closely resemble bone remodeling and/or the regeneration process in the framework of BTE.