Differential cell viability of chondrocytes and progenitor cells in tissue-engineered constructs following implantation into osteochondral defects

Pieter J. Emans, Jeroen Pieper, Martine M. Hulsbosch, Mireille Koenders, Ellen Kreijveld, Don A.M. Surtel, Clemens A. van Blitterswijk, Sjoerd K. Bulstra, Roel Kuijer*, Jens Riesle

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Animal studies in cartilage tissue engineering usually include the transfer of cultured cells into chondral or osteochondral defects. Immediately at implantation, the cells are exposed to a dramatically changed environment. The aim of this study was to determine the viability of two cell types currently considered for cellular therapies of cartilage defects-chondrocytes and progenitor cells-shortiy after exposure to an osteochondral defect in rabbit knees. To that end, autogenic chondrocytes and periosteal cells were labeled with CM-DiI fluorochrome, seeded or cultured in PEGT/PBT scaffolds for periods up to 2 weeks, transferred into osteochondral defects, harvested 5 days postimplantation, and analyzed for cell viability. In order to further elucidate factors effecting cell viability within our model system, we investigated the effect of serum, 2) extracellular matrix surrounding implanted cells, 3) scaffold interconnectivity, and 4) hyaluronan, as a known cell protectant. Controls included scaffolds with devitalized cells and scaffolds analyzed at implantation. We found that the viability of periosteum cells (14%), but not of chondrocytes (65-95%), was significantly decreased after implantation. The addition of hyaluronan increased periostium cell viability to 44% (p < 0.05). Surprisingly, cell viability in less interconnected compression-molded scaffolds was higher compared to that of fully interconnected scaffolds produced by rapid prototyping. All other factors tested did not affect viability significantly. Our data suggest chondrocytes as a suitable cell source for cartilage repair in line with clinical data on several chondrocyte-based therapies. Although we did not test progenitor cells other the periosteum cells, tissue-engineering approaches using such cell types should take cell viability aspects into consideration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1699-1709
    Number of pages11
    JournalTissue engineering
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


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