Development of zonal cartilage constructs : effects of chondrocyte subpopulation, compressive stimulation, and culture models

Jeon, June Evelyn (2011) Development of zonal cartilage constructs : effects of chondrocyte subpopulation, compressive stimulation, and culture models. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Articular cartilage is a highly resilient tissue located at the ends of long bones. It has a zonal structure, which has functional significance in load-bearing. Cartilage does not spontaneously heal itself when damaged, and untreated cartilage lesions or age-related wear often lead to osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a degenerative condition that is highly prevalent, age-associated, and significantly affects patient mobility and quality of life. There is no cure for OA, and patients usually resort to replacing the biological joint with an artificial prosthesis. An alternative approach is to dynamically regenerate damaged or diseased cartilage through cartilage tissue engineering, where cells, materials, and stimuli are combined to form new cartilage. However, despite extensive research, major limitations remain that have prevented the wide-spread application of tissue-engineered cartilage. Critically, there is a dearth of information on whether autologous chondrocytes obtained from OA patients can be used to successfully generate cartilage tissues with structural hierarchy typically found in normal articular cartilage. I aim to address these limitations in this thesis by showing that chondrocyte subpopulations isolated from macroscopically normal areas of the cartilage can be used to engineer stratified cartilage tissues and that compressive loading plays an important role in zone-dependent biosynthesis of these chondrocytes.

I first demonstrate that chondrocyte subpopulations from the superficial (S) and middle/deep (MD) zones of OA cartilage are responsive to compressive stimulation in vitro, and that the effect of compression on construct quality is zone-dependent. I also show that compressive stimulation can influence pericelluar matrix production, matrix metalloproteinase secretion, and cytokine expression in zonal chondrocytes in an alginate hydrogel model. Subsequently, I focus on recreating the zonal structure by forming layered constructs using the alginate-released chondrocyte (ARC) method either with or without polymeric scaffolds. Resulting zonal ARC constructs had hyaline morphology, and expressed cartilage matrix molecules such as proteoglycans and collagen type II in both scaffold-free and scaffold-based approaches. Overall, my findings demonstrate that chondrocyte subpopulations obtained from OA joints respond sensitively to compressive stimulation, and are able to form cartilaginous constructs with stratified organization similar to native cartilage using the scaffold-free and scaffold-based ARC technique. The ultimate goal in tissue engineering is to help provide improved treatment options for patients suffering from debilitating conditions such as OA. Further investigations in developing functional cartilage replacement tissues using autologous chondrocytes will bring us a step closer to improving the quality of life for millions of OA patients worldwide.

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ID Code: 53114
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Klein, Travis, Crawford, Ross, & Hutmacher, Dietmar
Keywords: osteoarthritis (OA), cartilage, chondrocyte subpopulations, cartilage tissue engineering, dynamic compressive stimulation, mechanotransduction, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPS), alginate hydrogels, cytokines, alginate-recovered chondrocytes (ARC), zonal constructs, electrospinning, scaffolds, regenerative medicine
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 14 Aug 2012 00:22
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 00:22

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