eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2008   Volume No 16 – pages 92-99

Title:Cartilage tissue engineering using pre-aggregated human articular chondrocytes

Author: F Wolf, C Candrian, D Wendt, J Farhadi, M Heberer, I Martin, A Barbero

Address:Departments of Surgery and of Biomedicine, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland

E-mail: imartin at

Key Words: articular chondrocytes, chondrogenesis, cell differentiation, cartilage tissue engineering.

Publication date: December 19th 2008

Abstract: In this study, we first aimed at determining whether human articular chondrocytes (HAC) proliferate in aggregates in the presence of strong chondrocyte mitogens. We then investigated if the aggregated cells have an enhanced chondrogenic capacity as compared to cells cultured in monolayer. HAC from four donors were cultured in tissue culture dishes either untreated or coated with 1% agarose in the presence of TGFb-1, FGF-2 and PDGF-BB. Proliferation and stage of differentiation were assessed by measuring respectively DNA contents and type II collagen mRNA. Expanded cells were induced to differentiate in pellets or in Hyaff®-11 meshes and the formed tissues were analysed biochemically for glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and DNA, and histologically by Safranin O staining. The amount of DNA in aggregate cultures increased significantly from day 2 to day 6 (by 3.2-fold), but did not further increase with additional culture time. Expression of type II collagen mRNA was about two orders of magnitude higher in aggregated HAC as compared to monolayer expanded cells. Pellets generated by aggregated HAC were generally more intensely stained for GAG than those generated by monolayer-expanded cells. Scaffolds seeded with aggregates accumulated more GAG (1.3-fold) than scaffolds seeded with monolayer expanded HAC. In conclusion, this study showed that HAC culture in aggregates does not support a relevant degree of expansion. However, aggregation of expanded HAC prior to loading into a porous scaffold enhances the quality of the resulting tissues and could thus be introduced as an intermediate culture phase in the manufacture of engineered cartilage grafts.

Article download: Pages 92-99 (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v016a10