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Models of ex vivo explant cultures: applications in bone research

Marino, Silvia; Staines, Katherine Ann; Brown, Genevieve; Howard-Jones, Rachel Anne; Adamczyk, Magdalena


Silvia Marino

Katherine Ann Staines

Genevieve Brown

Rachel Anne Howard-Jones

Magdalena Adamczyk


Ex vivo explant culture models are powerful tools in bone research. They allow investigation of bone and cartilage responses to specific stimuli in a controlled manner that closely mimics the in vivo processes. Because of limitations in
obtaining healthy human bone samples the explant growth of animal tissue serves as a platform to study the complex physico-chemical properties of the bone. Moreover, these models enable preserving important cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions in order to better understand the behaviour of cells in their natural three-dimensional environment. Thus, the use of bone ex vivo explant cultures can frequently be of more physiological relevance than the use of two-dimensional primary cells grown in vitro. Here, we describe isolation and ex vivo growth of different animal bone explant models including metatarsals, femoral heads, calvaria, mandibular slices and trabecular cores. We also describe how these explants are utilised to study bone development, cartilage and bone metabolism, cancer-induced bone diseases, stem cell-driven bone repair and mechanoadaptation. These techniques can be directly used to understand mechanisms linked with bone physiology or bone-associated diseases.


Marino, S., Staines, K. A., Brown, G., Howard-Jones, R. A., & Adamczyk, M. (2016). Models of ex vivo explant cultures: applications in bone research. BoneKEy Reports, 5, 818.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 4, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 29, 2016
Publication Date Jun 29, 2016
Deposit Date Jan 13, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 20, 2017
Journal BoneKEy Reports
Print ISSN 2047-6396
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Pages 818
Keywords Bone development, metabolism, bone quality and biomechanics, stem cells, cancer,
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