Tissue Engineering Part C, Methods vol:17 issue:12 pages:1211-1221
Cell seeding into scaffolds plays a crucial role in the development of efficient bone tissue engineering constructs. Hence, it becomes imperative to identify the key factors that quantitatively predict reproducible and efficient seeding protocols. In this study, the optimization of a cell seeding process was investigated using design of experiments (DOE) statistical methods. Five seeding factors (cell type, scaffold type, seeding volume, seeding density, and seeding time) were selected and investigated by means of two response parameters, critically related to the cell seeding process: cell seeding efficiency (CSE) and cell-specific viability (CSV). In addition, cell spatial distribution (CSD) was analyzed by Live/Dead staining assays. Analysis identified a number of statistically significant main factor effects and interactions. Among the five seeding factors, only seeding volume and seeding time significantly affected CSE and CSV. Also, cell and scaffold type were involved in the interactions with other seeding factors. Within the investigated ranges, optimal conditions in terms of CSV and CSD were obtained when seeding cells in a regular scaffold with an excess of medium. The results of this case study contribute to a better understanding and definition of optimal process parameters for cell seeding. A DOE strategy can identify and optimize critical process variables to reduce the variability and assists in determining which variables should be carefully controlled during good manufacturing practice production to enable a clinically relevant implant.