The effects of dynamic and three-dimensional environments on chondrogenic differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells

Youngmee Jung, Sang-Heon Kim, Young Ha Kim, Soo Hyun Kim
Biomedical Materials 2009, 4 (5): 055009
Articular cartilage is subjected to complex loading, which plays a major role in its growth, development and maintenance. Previously, we found that mechanical stimuli enhanced the development and function of engineered cartilage tissues in elastic mechano-active poly(lactide-co-caprolactone) (PLCL) scaffolds. In addition, it is well known that the three-dimensional spatial organization of cells and extracellular matrices in hydrogels is crucial to chondrogenesis. This study was conducted to enhance the chondrogenic differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) in the hybrid scaffolds of fibrin gels and PLCL scaffolds in dynamic environments by compression. A highly elastic scaffold was fabricated from very elastic PLCL with 85% porosity and a 300-500 microm pore size using a gel-pressing method. A mixture of rabbit BMSCs and fibrin gels was then seeded onto the PLCL scaffolds and subjected to continuous compressive deformation of 5% strain at 0.1 Hz for 10 days in a chondrogenic medium containing 10 ng ml(-1) TGF-beta(1). The BMSCs-seeded scaffold constructs were then implanted subcutaneously into nude mice. As a control, the cell-PLCL scaffold constructs were cultured under dynamic conditions or the cell-PLCL/fibrin hybrid scaffold constructs and the cell-PLCL scaffold constructs were cultured under static conditions for 10 days in vitro. The results revealed that cells adhered onto the hybrid scaffolds of fibrin gels and PLCL scaffolds cultured under dynamic conditions. In addition, the accumulation of the extracellular matrix of cell-scaffold constructs, which was increased through mechanical stimulation, showed that chondrogenic differentiation was sustained and enhanced significantly in the stimulated hybrid scaffold constructs. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the proper periodic application of dynamic compression and the three-dimensional environments of the hybrid scaffolds composed of fibrin gels and elastic PLCL can encourage BMSCs to differentiate into chondrocytes, maintain their phenotypes and enhance GAGs production, thereby improving the quality of cartilaginous tissue formed in vitro and in vivo.

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