Tissue engineering. Part A, 17(23-24):2999-3009, 2011
Tissue engineering. Part A
Scaffold designs are critical for in vitro culture of tissue-engineered cartilage in three-dimensional environments to enhance cellular differentiation for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In the present study we demonstrated silk and fibrin/hyaluronic acid (HA) composite gels as scaffolds for nucleus pulposus (NP) cartilage formation, providing both biochemical support for NP outcomes as well as fostering the retention of size of the scaffold during culture due to the combined features of the two proteins. Passage two (P2) human chondrocytes cultured in 10% serum were encapsulated within silk-fibrin/HA gels. Five study groups with fibrin/HA gel culture (F/H) along with varying silk concentrations (2% silk gel only, fibrin/HA gel culture with 1% silk [F/H+1S], 1.5% silk [F/H+1.5S], and 2% silk [F/H+2S]) were cultured in serum-free chondrogenic defined media (CDM) for 4 weeks. Histological examination with alcian blue showed a defined chondrogenic area at 1 week in all groups that widened homogenously until 4 weeks. In particular, chondrogenic differentiation observed in the F/H+1.5S had no reduction in size throughout the culture period. The results of biochemical and molecular biological evaluations supported observations made during histological examination. Mechanical strength measurements showed that the silk mixed gels provided stronger mechanical properties for NP tissue than fibrin/HA composite gels in CDM. This effect could potentially be useful in the study of in vitro NP tissue engineering as well as for clinical implications for NP tissue regeneration.
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