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Gradient-Regulated Hydrogel for Interface Tissue Engineering: Steering Simultaneous Osteo/Chondrogenesis of Stem Cells on a Chip

Authors

  • Xuetao Shi,

    Corresponding author
    1. WPI-Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan
    • WPI-Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan.
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  • Jianhua Zhou,

    1. WPI-Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan
    2. Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
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  • Yihua Zhao,

    1. Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
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  • Lei Li,

    1. Key Laboratory of Cryogenics & Beijing Key, Laboratory of Cryo-Biomedical Engineering, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Hongkai Wu

    Corresponding author
    1. WPI-Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan
    2. Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
    • WPI-Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan.
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Abstract

Injury to articular cartilage, especially the defects induced by degenerative diseases has presented insurmountable challenges. Elaborating a replacement of articular cartilage using biomimic tissue-engineering strategies provides a promising remedy. However, none of the previous osteo/chondrogenic methodologies can not only simultaneously induce osteo/chondrogenesis of stem cells in one scaffolding niche, but also generate a biomimic interface between the formed osteogenic and chondrogenic zones. We report here an innovative method using biomicrofluidic techniques to simultaneously steer distinct specialized differentiation of stem cells into chondrocytes and osteoblasts in one hydrogel slab. Importantly, a gradient that mimics the interface of bone-to-cartilage was generated in the middle of the hydrogel slab. We compared this format with the conventional method for osteochondrogenesis; this format using the gradient-generating microfluidic device indicated outstanding superiorities in stem cell culture and differentiation. Our findings will have a major impact on the design of versatile biomicrofluidic devices for interfacial tissue regeneration.

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