Extracellular matrix (ECM) materials are widely used in cartilage tissue engineering. However, the current ECM materials are unsatisfactory for clinical practice as most of them are derived from allogenous or xenogenous tissue. This study was designed to develop a novel autologous ECM scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering. The autologous bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell-derived ECM (aBMSC-dECM) membrane was collected and fabricated into a three-dimensional porous scaffold via cross-linking and freeze-drying techniques. Articular chondrocytes were seeded into the aBMSC-dECM scaffold and atelocollagen scaffold, respectively. An in vitro culture and an in vivo implantation in nude mice model were performed to evaluate the influence on engineered cartilage. The current results showed that the aBMSC-dECM scaffold had a good microstructure and biocompatibility. After 4 weeks in vitro culture, the engineered cartilage in the aBMSC-dECM scaffold group formed thicker cartilage tissue with more homogeneous structure and higher expressions of cartilaginous gene and protein compared with the atelocollagen scaffold group. Furthermore, the engineered cartilage based on the aBMSC-dECM scaffold showed better cartilage formation in terms of volume and homogeneity, cartilage matrix content, and compressive modulus after 3 weeks in vivo implantation. These results indicated that the aBMSC-dECM scaffold could be a successful novel candidate scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering.
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