Infrapatellar fat pad adipose stem cells (IPFP-ASCs) have been shown to harbor chondrogenic potential. When combined with 3D polymeric structures, the stem cells provide a source of stem cells to engineer 3D tissues for cartilage repair. In this study, we have shown human IPFP-ASCs seeded onto 3D printed chitosan scaffolds can undergo chondrogenesis using TGFβ3 and BMP6. By week 4, a pearlescent, cartilage-like matrix had formed that penetrated the top layers of the chitosan scaffold forming a 'cap' on the scaffold. Chondrocytic morphology showed typical cells encased in extracellular matrix which stained positively with toluidine blue. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated positive staining for collagen type II and cartilage proteoglycans, as well as collagen type I. Real time PCR analysis showed up-regulation of collagen type II, aggrecan and SOX9 genes when IPFP-ASCs were stimulated by TGFβ3 and BMP6. Thus, IPFP-ASCs can successfully undergo chondrogenesis using TGFβ3 and BMP6 and the cartilage-like tissue that forms on the surface of 3D-printed chitosan scaffold may prove useful as an osteochondral graft.
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