Articular cartilage tissue engineering based on a mechano-active scaffold made of poly(L-lactide-co-epsilon-caprolactone): In vivo performance in adult rabbits

Jun Xie, Zhiyi Han, Masatoshi Naito, Akira Maeyama, Soo Hyun Kim, Young Ha Kim, Takehisa Matsuda
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. Part B, Applied Biomaterials 2010, 94 (1): 80-8
Our previous studies showed that a mechano-active scaffold made of poly(L-lactide-co-epsilon-caprolactone) (PLCL) exhibited a high potential to realize the formation of a functional, engineered cartilage in vitro. This animal study therefore was designed to investigate the feasibility of repairing on osteochondral defect with the use of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) incorporated with a PLCL scaffold. Rabbit BMSCs, isolated and subsequently cultured in monolayer, were seeded into a porous PLCL scaffold sponge following an implantation onto a full-thickness osteochondral defect (diameter of 4.5 mm, depth of 5 mm) that was artificially created on the medial femoral condyles at a high load-bearing site on a rabbit's knee joint. Time-dependent healing of the defect was evaluated by macroscopic, histological examinations at both 3- and 6-month-implantations, respectively. A PLCL sponge incorporated with BMSCs exhibited sufficient structural support, resulting in new osteochondral tissue regeneration: a physiologically well-integrated subchondral bone formation, a hyaline cartilage-like morphology containing chondrocytes surrounded by abundant cartilaginous matrices. In addition, quantitative biochemical assays also demonstrated high potential for the synthesis of sulfated glycosaminoglycan and collagen, both of which are biomolecules essential to extracelluar matrix in normal cartilage tissue. In contrast, defects filled with cell-free PLCL scaffold or left empty showed a very limited potential for regeneration. Our findings suggest that a composite of PLCL-based sponge scaffold and BMSCs promote the repair of osteochondral defects at high load-bearing sites in adult rabbits.

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