JOURNAL ARTICLE

Chondrogenesis of human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells in highly porous alginate-foams supplemented with chondroitin sulfate

Zhao Huang, Patcharakamon Nooeaid, Benjamin Kohl, Judith A Roether, Dirk W Schubert, Carola Meier, Aldo R Boccaccini, Owen Godkin, Wolfgang Ertel, Stephan Arens, Gundula Schulze-Tanzil
Materials Science & Engineering. C, Materials for Biological Applications 2015, 50: 160-72
25746258
To overcome the limited intrinsic cartilage repair, autologous chondrocyte or bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cell (BM-MSC) was implanted into cartilage defects. For this purpose suitable biocompatible scaffolds are needed to provide cell retention, chondrogenesis and initial mechanical stability. The present study should indicate whether a recently developed highly porous alginate (Alg) foam scaffold supplemented with chondroitin sulfate (CS) allows the attachment, survival and chondrogenesis of BM-MSCs and articular chondrocytes. The foams were prepared using a freeze-drying method; some of them were supplemented with CS and subsequently characterized for porosity, biodegradation and mechanical profile. BM-MSCs were cultured for 1-2 weeks on the scaffold either under chondrogenic or maintenance conditions. Cell vitality assays, histology, glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) assay, and type II and I collagen immunolabelings were performed to monitor cell growth and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis in the scaffolds. Scaffolds had a high porosity ~93-95% with a mean pore sizes of 237±48 μm (Alg) and 197±61 μm (Alg/CS). Incorporation of CS increased mechanical strength of the foams providing gradually CS release over 7 days. Most of the cells survived in the scaffolds. BM-MSCs and articular chondrocytes formed rounded clusters within the scaffold pores. The BM-MSCs, irrespective of whether cultured under non/chondrogenic conditions and chondrocytes produced an ECM containing sGAGs, and types II and I collagen. Total collagen and sGAG contents were higher in differentiated BM-MSC cultures supplemented with CS than in CS-free foams after 14 days. The cell cluster formation induced by the scaffolds might stimulate chondrogenesis via initial intense cell-cell contacts.

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