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Biomaterials

Endochondral bone formation in gelatin methacrylamide hydrogel with embedded cartilage-derived matrix particles.


PMID 25453948

Abstract

The natural process of endochondral bone formation in the growing skeletal system is increasingly inspiring the field of bone tissue engineering. However, in order to create relevant-size bone grafts, a cell carrier is required that ensures a high diffusion rate and facilitates matrix formation, balanced by its degradation. Therefore, we set out to engineer endochondral bone in gelatin methacrylamide (GelMA) hydrogels with embedded multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) and cartilage-derived matrix (CDM) particles. CDM particles were found to stimulate the formation of a cartilage template by MSCs in the GelMA hydrogel in vitro. In a subcutaneous rat model, this template was subsequently remodeled into mineralized bone tissue, including bone-marrow cavities. The GelMA was almost fully degraded during this process. There was no significant difference in the degree of calcification in GelMA with or without CDM particles: 42.5 ± 2.5% vs. 39.5 ± 8.3% (mean ± standard deviation), respectively. Interestingly, in an osteochondral setting, the presence of chondrocytes in one half of the constructs fully impeded bone formation in the other half by MSCs. This work offers a new avenue for the engineering of relevant-size bone grafts, by the formation of endochondral bone within a degradable hydrogel.

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