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Pellet culture elicits superior chondrogenic redifferentiation than alginate-based systems

Authors

  • Peter Bernstein,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, Medical Faculty of the Technical University Dresden, D-01307 Dresden, Germany
    • Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, Medical Faculty of the Technical University Dresden, D-01307 Dresden, Germany
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  • Meng Dong,

    1. Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, Medical Faculty of the Technical University Dresden, D-01307 Dresden, Germany
    2. Tissue Engineering Laboratories, Biotec, Technical University Dresden, D-01307 Dresden, Germany
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  • Denis Corbeil,

    1. Tissue Engineering Laboratories, Biotec, Technical University Dresden, D-01307 Dresden, Germany
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  • Michael Gelinsky,

    1. Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials, Institute of Materials Science, Technical University Dresden, D-01069 Dresden, Germany
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  • Klaus-Peter Günther,

    1. Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, Medical Faculty of the Technical University Dresden, D-01307 Dresden, Germany
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  • Stefan Fickert

    1. Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, Faculty of Clinical Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, D-68167 Mannheim, Germany
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Abstract

Although pellet culture and encapsulation of chondrocytes into gel-like biomaterials have lead to major advances in cartilage tissue engineering, a quantitative comparative characterization of cellular differentiation behavior during those cultivation procedures has not yet been performed. Our study therefore aimed at answering the following question: is the redifferentiation pathway of chondrocytes altered by slight changes in the type of alginate biomaterial (pure alginate, alginate-fibrin, alginate-chitosan) and how do the cells behave in comparison to biomaterial-free (pellet) three-dimensional culturing? Monolayer-expanded chondrocytes from healthy adult porcine knee joints were cultivated in alginate, alginate-chitosan, alginate-fibrin beads and as pellets up to 4 weeks. Quantitative PCR and Immunohistology were used to assess chondrogenic markers. Alginate-fibrin—encapsulated chondrocytes behaved almost like monolayer chondrocytes. Alginate- and alginate-chitosan encapsulation lead to a low chondrogenic marker gene expression. Although all 3D-cultured chondrocytes showed a considerable amount of Sox9 expression, only pellet cultivation lead to a sufficient Collagen II expression. This puts the usage of alginate-cultivated cartilage tissue engineering constructs under question. Fibrin addition is not beneficial for chondrogenic differentiation. Sox9 and Collagen II behave differently, depending upon the surrounding 3D-environment. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2009

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