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Keywords:

  • chondrocyte;
  • scaffold;
  • hydrogel;
  • regenerative medicine;
  • matrix

Abstract

To seek a suitable scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering, we compared various hydrogel materials originating from animals, plants, or synthetic peptides. Human auricular chondrocytes were embedded in atelopeptide collagen, alginate, or PuraMatrix™, all of which are or will soon be clinically available. The chondrocytes in the atelopeptide collagen proliferated well, while the others showed no proliferation. A high-cell density culture within each hydrogel enhanced the expression of collagen type II mRNA, when compared with that without hydrogel. By stimulation with insulin and BMP-2, collagen type II and glycosaminoglycan were significantly accumulated within all hydrogels. Chondrocytes in the atelopeptide collagen showed high expression of β1 integrin, seemingly promoting cell–matrix signaling. The N-cadherin expression was inhibited in the alginate, implying that decrease in cell-to-cell contacts may maintain chondrocyte activity. The matrix synthesis in PuraMatrix™ was less than that in others, while its Young's modulus was the lowest, suggesting a weakness in gelling ability and storage of cells and matrices. Considering biological effects and clinical availability, atelopeptide collagen may be accessible for clinical use. However, because synthetic peptides can control the risk of disease transmission and immunoreactivities, some improvement in gelling ability would provide a more useful hydrogel for ideal cartilage regeneration. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res, 2006