Injectable Cell-Laden Polysaccharide Hydrogels: In Vivo Evaluation of Cartilage Regeneration

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Previously, 5% w/v hyaluronic acid-tyramine (HA-TA) and dextran-tyramine (Dex-TA) enzymatically cross-linked hybrid hydrogels were demonstrated to provide a mechanically stable environment, maintain cell viability, and promote cartilaginous-specific matrix deposition in vitro. In this study, 5% w/v hybrid hydrogels were combined with human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), bovine chondrocytes (bCHs), or a combination of both in a 4:1 ratio and subcutaneously implanted in the backs of male and female nude rats to assess the performance of cell-laden hydrogels in tissue formation. Subcutaneous implantation of these biomaterials showed signs of integration of the gels within the host tissue. Histological analysis showed residual fibrotic capsules four weeks after implantation. However, enhanced tissue invasion and some giant cell infiltration were observed in the HA-TA/Dex-TA hydrogels laden with either hMSCs or bCHs but not with the co-culture. Moreover, hMSC-bCH co-cultures showed beneficial interaction with the hydrogels, for instance, in enhanced cell proliferation and matrix deposition. In addition, we provide evidence that host gender has an impact on the performance of bCHs encapsulated in HA-TA/Dex-TA hydrogels. This study revealed that hydrogels laden with different types of cells result in distinct host responses. It can be concluded that 5% w/v hydrogels with a higher concentration of Dex-TA (≥50%) laden with bCH-hMSC co-cultures are adequate for injectable applications and in situ cell delivery in cartilage regeneration approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4292
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • cartilage regeneration
  • chondrocytes
  • co-cultures
  • in vivo
  • injectable hydrogel
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • subcutaneous implantation


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