Mechanical stimulation by ultrasound enhances chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells in a fibrin-hyaluronic acid hydrogel

Jae Won Choi, Byung Hyune Choi, Sang-Hyug Park, Ki Soo Pai, Tian Zhu Li, Byoung-Hyun Min, So Ra Park
Artificial Organs 2013, 37 (7): 648-55
Chondrogenic differentiation and cartilage tissue formation derived from stem cells are highly dependent on both biological and mechanical factors. This study investigated whether or not fibrin-hyaluronic acid (HA) coupled with low-intensity ultrasound (LIUS), a mechanical stimulation, produces an additive or synergistic effect on the chondrogenesis of rabbit mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow. For the purpose of comparison, rabbit MSCs were first cultured in fibrin-HA or alginate hydrogels, and then subjected to chondrogenic differentiation in chondrogenic-defined medium for 4 weeks in the presence of either transforming growth factor-beta3 (TGF-β3) (10 ng/mL) or LIUS treatment (1.0 MHz and 200 mW/cm(2) ). The resulting samples were evaluated at 1 and 4 weeks by histological observation, chemical assays, and mechanical analysis. The fibrin-HA hydrogel was found to be more efficient than alginate in promoting chondrogenesis of the MSCs by producing a larger amount of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and collagen, and engineered constructs made with the hydrogel demonstrated higher mechanical strength. At 4 weeks of tissue culture, the chondrogenesis of the MSCs in fibrin-HA were shown to be further enhanced by treatment with LIUS, as observed by analyses for the amounts of GAGs and collagen, and mechanical strength testing. In contrast, TGF-β3, a well-known chondrogenic inducer, showed a marginal additive effect in the amount of collagen only. These results revealed that LIUS further enhanced chondrogenesis of the MSCs cultured in fibrin-HA, in vitro, and suggested that the combination of fibrin-HA and LIUS is a useful tool in constructing high-quality cartilage tissues from MSCs.

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