Cartilage regeneration in SCID mice using a highly organized three-dimensional alginate scaffold
Tissue engineering for cartilage regeneration provides an alternative to surgery for degenerative osteoarthritis. Recently, a highly organized three-dimensional (3D) alginate scaffold was prepared using a microfluidic device; this scaffold is effective for chondrocyte culture in vitro. The performance of this scaffold was further demonstrated; an alginate scaffold seeded with porcine chondrocytes was implanted in the dorsal subcutaneous site of SCID mice. The recipients were sacrificed at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after transplantation. The grafted implants retrieved from the subcutaneous site were analyzed with histologic examinations. Real-time PCR was used to identify the gene expression patterns of the chondrocytes. The hematoxylin and eosin staining showed that the chondrocytes survived normally in SCID mice; cartilage-like structures were formed after 4 weeks implantation. Immunohistochemical staining revealed cells secreted type II collagen, produced glycosaminoglycans (proved by alcian blue stain), and maintained the expression of S-100. On the other hand, the cells were negative for type I and type X collagen staining. PCR showed that the mRNA expressions of aggrecan and type II collagen were up-regulated at weeks two and four, while type I and type X collagen were down-regulated during the study period. In summary, this highly organized 3D alginate scaffold provided a suitable environment and maintained functional phenotypes for chondrocytes in this animal study.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 33, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 120–127