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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2003 Jun;11(6):403-11.

A static, closed and scaffold-free bioreactor system that permits chondrogenesis in vitro.

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Osteoarticular Research Group, Institute of Pathology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.



To characterise in vitro engineered cartilaginous constructs made employing a novel static, scaffold-free and closed chamber system.


Chondrocytes derived from slaughter age pigs (3-6 months) were seeded at high density (20 x 10(6)) into cylindrical chambers (1.0 x 0.5cm) and were maintained between an upper and a lower membrane (100 kDa) for 21 days and subsequently cultured in open culture for 7 additional days.


Viable constructs produced were approximately 10 mmx2mm in size and were stable enough to be handled by surgical pincers. Histology and electron microscopy evaluations revealed a neo-cartilage structure of high cell density with a comprehensive extracellular matrix. Predominately collagen type II and negligible amounts of collagen types I and X were detected using RT-PCR and SDS-PAGE analyses.


In this study, we provide evidence of a scaffold-free system that can produce immature hyaline-like cartilaginous constructs suitable for in vivo implantation, or that may be useful for in vitro studies of events related to the process of chondrogenesis.

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