High throughput generated micro-aggregates of chondrocytes stimulate cartilage formation in vitro and in vivo

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Abstract

Cell-based cartilage repair strategies such as matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) could be improved by enhancing cell performance. We hypothesised that micro-aggregates of chondrocytes generated in high-throughput prior to implantation in a defect could stimulate cartilaginous matrix deposition and remodelling. To address this issue, we designed a micro-mould to enable controlled high-throughput formation of micro-aggregates. Morphology, stability, gene expression profiles and chondrogenic potential of micro-aggregates of human and bovine chondrocytes were evaluated and compared to single-cells cultured in micro-wells and in 3D after encapsulation in Dextran-Tyramine (Dex-TA) hydrogels in vitro and in vivo. We successfully formed micro-aggregates of human and bovine chondrocytes with highly controlled size, stability and viability within 24 hours. Micro-aggregates of 100 cells presented a superior balance in Collagen type I and Collagen type II gene expression over single cells and micro-aggregates of 50 and 200 cells. Matrix metalloproteinases 1, 9 and 13 mRNA levels were decreased in micro-aggregates compared to single-cells. Histological and biochemical analysis demonstrated enhanced matrix deposition in constructs seeded with micro-aggregates cultured in vitro and in vivo, compared to single-cell seeded constructs. Whole genome microarray analysis and single gene expression profiles using human chondrocytes confirmed increased expression of cartilage-related genes when chondrocytes were cultured in micro-aggregates. In conclusion, we succeeded in controlled high-throughput formation of micro-aggregates of chondrocytes. Compared to single cell-seeded constructs, seeding of constructs with micro-aggregates greatly improved neo-cartilage formation. Therefore, micro-aggregation prior to chondrocyte implantation in current MACI procedures, may effectively accelerate hyaline cartilage formation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-399
JournalEuropean cells & materials
Volume23
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • METIS-288064
  • IR-81428

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