Long-term effects of hydrogel properties on human chondrocyte behavior

Klein, Travis J., Rizzi, Simone C., Schrobback, Karsten, Reichert, Johannes C., Jeon, June, Crawford, Ross W., & Hutmacher, Dietmar W. (2010) Long-term effects of hydrogel properties on human chondrocyte behavior. Soft Matter, 6(20), pp. 5175-5183.

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Hydrogels provide a 3-dimensional network for embedded cells and offer promise for cartilage tissue engineering applications. Nature-derived hydrogels, including alginate, have been shown to enhance the chondrocyte phenotype but are variable and not entirely controllable. Synthetic hydrogels, including polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based matrices, have the advantage of repeatability and modularity; mechanical stiffness, cell adhesion, and degradability can be altered independently. In this study, we compared the long-term in vitro effects of different hydrogels (alginate and Factor XIIIa-cross-linked MMP-sensitive PEG at two stiffness levels) on the behavior of expanded human chondrocytes and the development of construct properties. Monolayer-expanded human chondrocytes remained viable throughout culture, but morphology varied greatly in different hydrogels. Chondrocytes were characteristically round in alginate but mostly spread in PEG gels at both concentrations. Chondrogenic gene (COL2A1, aggrecan) expression increased in all hydrogels, but alginate constructs had much higher expression levels of these genes (up to 90-fold for COL2A1), as well as proteoglycan 4, a functional marker of the superficial zone. Also, chondrocytes expressed COL1A1 and COL10A1, indicative of de-differentiation and hypertrophy. After 12 weeks, constructs with lower polymer content were stiffer than similar constructs with higher polymer content, with the highest compressive modulus measured in 2.5% PEG gels. Different materials and polymer concentrations have markedly different potency to affect chondrocyte behavior. While synthetic hydrogels offer many advantages over natural materials such as alginate, they must be further optimized to elicit desired chondrocyte responses for use as cartilage models and for development of functional tissue-engineered articular cartilage.

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ID Code: 41396
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Hydrogels, 3-dimensional network, cartilage tissue, alginate, chondrocyte phenotype
DOI: 10.1039/c0sm00229a
ISSN: 1744-683X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > CHEMICAL SCIENCE (030000) > MEDICINAL AND BIOMOLECULAR CHEMISTRY (030400) > Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry not elsewhere classified (030499)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (060100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > MECHANICAL ENGINEERING (091300)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry
Deposited On: 21 Apr 2011 03:32
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:21

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