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Articular Cartilage Matrix Formation using Dynamic Self-Regenerating Cartilage and Photochemical Hydrogels
Amanda Meppelink, BS1, Xing Zhao, MD, MS, PhD1, Darvin Griffin, PhD2, Richard Erali, MA1, Lawrence Bonassar, PhD2, Robert Redmond, PhD1, Mark Randolph, MAS1.
1Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA, 2Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

We present a novel method for generating hyaline articular cartilage to improve the outcome of joint surface repair.
A suspension of 10x106 swine chondrocytes were cultured under reciprocating motion for 14 days. The resulting dynamic Self-Regenerating Cartilage (dSRC) was placed in a cartilage ring and capped with (1) fibrin, (2) collagen, and (3) crosslinked collagen (collagen+hv) gels. A control group consisted of chondrocytes encapsulated in fibrin gel. Constructs were implanted subcutaneously in nude mice and harvested after 6 weeks. Gross, histological, immunohistochemical, and biochemical analysis was performed. In swine femoral condyle, dSRC were implanted into osteochondral defects capped with collagen gel and compared to defects filled with osteochondral plugs, collagen gel, and left empty after 6 weeks.
In mice, the three dSRC groups showed enhanced contiguous cartilage matrix formation over control (Figure 1). Biochemically, the collagen+hv gel dSRC group was statistically improved in glycoaminoglycan content compared to control and 63% of native articular cartilage values. The swine model also showed contiguous cartilage matrix in the dSRC group but not in the collagen gel and empty defects. This demonstrates the survivability and successful matrix formation of dSRC under the mechanical forces experienced by normal hyaline cartilage in the knee joint.
The results from this study demonstrate that dSRC capped with photochemical hydrogels successfully engineers contiguous articular cartilage matrix in both non-load bearing and load bearing environments.


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