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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2011 Sep 15;98(4):596-603. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.33140. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

Thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-g-methylcellulose hydrogel as a three-dimensional extracellular matrix for cartilage-engineered applications.

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  • 13B's Research Group-Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, 4806-909 Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal.


Recent advances in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine fields can offer alternative solutions to the existing techniques for cartilage repair. In this context, a variety of materials has been proposed, and the injectable hydrogels are among the most promising alternatives. The aim of this work is to explore the ability of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-g-methylcellulose (PNIPAAm-g-MC) thermoreversible hydrogel as a three-dimensional support for cell encapsulation toward the regeneration of articular cartilage through a tissue engineering approach. The PNIPAAm-g-MC copolymer was effectively obtained using ammonium-persulfate and N,N,N',N'-tetramethylethylenediamine as initiator as confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and (1) H NMR results. The copolymer showed to be temperature responsive, becoming a gel at temperatures above its lower critical solution temperature (~ 32 °C) while turning into a liquid below it. Results obtained from the MTS test showed that extracts of the hydrogel were clearly noncytotoxic to L929 fibroblast cells. ATDC5 cells, a murine chondrogenic cell line, were used as the in vitro model for this study; they were encapsulated at high cell density within the hydrogel and cultured for up to 28 days. PNIPAAm-g-MC did not affect the cell viability and proliferation, as indicated by both MTS and DNA assays. The results also revealed an increase in synthesis of glycosoaminoglycans within culture time measured by the dimethylmethylene blue quantification assay. These results suggest the viability of using PNIPAAm-g-MC thermoresponsive hydrogel as a three-dimensional scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering using minimal-invasive strategies.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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