Tissue engineering. Part A

hWJECM-Derived Oriented Scaffolds with Autologous Chondrocytes for Rabbit Cartilage Defect Repairing.

PMID 29264993


Previously, we synthesized an articular cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM)-derived oriented scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering, which was biomimetic in terms of structure and biochemical composition. However, the limit resource of the cartilage-derived ECM is a hindrance for its application. In this study, we developed a new material for cartilage tissue engineering-human umbilical cord Wharton's jelly-derived ECM (hWJECM). The hWJECM has an abundant resource and similar biochemistry with cartilage ECM, and the use of it is not associated with ethical controversy. We adopted the method previously used in cartilage ECM-derived oriented scaffold preparation to generate the oriented hWJECM-derived scaffold, and the scaffold properties were tested in vitro and in vivo. The three-dimensional scaffold has a porous and well-oriented structure, with a mean pore diameter of ∼104 μm. Scanning electron microscopy and cell viability staining results demonstrated that the oriented scaffold has good biocompatibility and cell alignment. In addition, we used functional autologous chondrocytes to seed the hWJECM-derived oriented scaffold and tested the efficacy of the cell-scaffold constructs to repair the full-thickness articular cartilage defect in a rabbit model. Defects of 4 mm diameter were generated in the patellar grooves of the femurs of both knees and were implanted with chondrocyte-scaffold constructs (group A) or scaffolds alone (group B); rabbits with untreated defects were used as a control (group C). Six months after surgery, all defects in group A were filled completely with repaired tissue, and most of which were hyaline cartilage. In contrast, the defects in group B were filled partially with repaired tissue, and approximately half of these repaired tissues were hyaline cartilage. The defects in group C were only filled with fibrotic tissue. Histological grading score of group A was lower than those of groups B and C. Quantification of glycosaminoglycan indicated that newly formed cartilage in group A rabbits was comparable with normal cartilage. In conclusion, hWJECM-derived oriented scaffolds loaded with autologous chondrocytes induced cartilage repair in rabbit knees, which was comparable with native cartilage in terms of macroscopic view, microstructure, and biochemical composition.