eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) eCM Open Access Scientific Journal
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2024   Volume No 47 – pages 1-14

Title: Alginate hydrogel-guided rAAV-mediated FGF-2 and TGF-β delivery and overexpression stimulates the biological activities of human meniscal fibrochondrocytes for meniscus repair

Authors:  JK Venkatesan, W Liu, H Madry, M Cucchiarini

Address: Center of Experimental Orthopaedics, Saarland University Medical Center, Kirrbergerstr. Bldg 37, D-66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany

E-mail: mmcucchiarini at

Abstract: Meniscus lesions are unsolved problems that impede the functions of stability, load bearing, and shock absorption in the knee joint and for which there is no satisfying therapeutic option to date. Gene therapy using clinically adapted recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors is a powerful tool to enhance meniscus repair, especially when applied in combination with tissue engineering strategies that may allow to counteract a possible neutralization and/or dissemination of the rAAV particles in the recipient. Here, we examined the ability of an alginate (AlgPH155) hydrogel to formulate and deliver rAAV vectors carrying the genes for the reparative fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) as a means to trigger the biological activities in human meniscal fibrochondrocytes. The results show that effective rAAV-mediated FGF-2 and TGF-β overexpression via alginate (AlgPH155) hydrogel-guided vector administration equally led to enhanced levels of cell proliferation and of specific matrix deposition (proteoglycans, type-I/-III collagen) in the cells over an extended period of time (21 days, the latest time point evaluated) relative to the control treatments (hydrogel without vector or with a vector carrying the reporter lacZ gene). These effects were associated with an increase in the expression of the contractile alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) marker, a determinant of the meniscus response injury, and with decreased levels of pro-inflammatory markers (interleukin 1 beta—IL1β, tumor necrosis factor alpha—TNF-α). These findings show the potential of alginate hydrogel-guided rAAV-mediated gene therapy as a new, off-the-shelf therapeutic system for meniscus repair.

Keywords: Human meniscal fibrochondrocytes, recombinant adeno-associated virus, fibroblast growth factor 2, transforming growth factor beta, alginate hydrogel, reparative activities.

Publication date: February 21st 2024

Copyright policy: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Forum Multimedia Publishing, LLC. This article is distributed in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution Licence (

Article download: Pages 1-14 (PDF file)

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