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

2018   Volume No 35 – pages 350-364

Title: Cultivation of auricular chondrocytes in poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(ε-caprolactone) hydrogel for tracheal cartilage tissue engineering in a rabbit model

Authors: CS Chang, CY Yang, HY Hsiao, L Chen, IM Chu, MH Cheng, CK Tsao

Address: Division of Reconstructive Microsurgery, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, 5 Fu-Hsing Street, Kweishan, Taoyuan 33305, Taiwan

E-mail: nightman at

Abstract: Tissue engineering has the potential to overcome the limitations of tracheal reconstruction. To tissue-engineer a tracheal cartilage, auricular chondrocytes were encapsulated in a photocurable poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(ε-caprolactone) (PEG/PCL) hydrogel. Chondrogenic genes, including Sox9, Acan and Col2a1, were up-regulated in auricular chondrocytes after 2 weeks of in vitro cultivation in the PEG/PCL hydrogel. Co-cultivation of 70 % auricular chondrocytes and 30 % bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) accelerated the chondrogenic genes’ expression in the PEG/PCL hydrogel. Cartilaginous matrix markers, including proteoglycans and collagen type II, were detected in the chondrocytes-encapsulated PEG/PCL hydrogel after 4 weeks of in vitro cultivation. The higher expression level of cartilaginous matrix markers was observed in the PEG/PCL hydrogel with co-cultivation of 70 % chondrocytes and 30 % BMSCs. After 4 weeks of ectopic cultivation in rabbits, the cylindrical PEG/PCL structure was sustained with the use of a luminal silicon stent. However, without the stent, the construct collapsed under a compression force. No fibrosis or vessel ingrowth were found in the PEG/PCL hydrogel after 4 weeks of ectopic cultivation, whereas the auricular chondrocytes showed proteoglycans’ accumulation and collagen type II production. Rabbit auricular chondrocytes could survive and retain chondrogenic ability in the PEG/PCL hydrogel under both in vitro and in vivo conditions. While the PEG/PCL hydrogel did not show sufficient mechanical properties for supporting the cylindrical shape of the construct, the high chondrogenesis level of chondrocytes in the PEG/PCL hydrogel displayed the potential of this material for tracheal tissue engineering.

Key Words: Auricular chondrocytes, tissue engineering, trachea, cartilage, poly(e-caprolactone), poly(ethylene glycol), hydrogel.

Publication date: June 21th 2018

Article download: Pages 350-364

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