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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2005 Jun 1;73(3):275-83.

Analysis of mesenchymal stem cells grown on a three-dimensional HYAFF 11-based prototype ligament scaffold.

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Laboratorio di Immunologia e Genetica, Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy.


Ligaments are complex structures that maintain the mechanical stability of the joint. Healing of injured ligaments involves the interactions of different cell types, local cellular environment, and the use of devices. To gain new information on the complex interactions between mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and a specific hyaluronan-based prototype scaffold (HYAFF, useful for ligament tissue engineering, short time-course experiments were performed to analyze the proliferation, vitality, and phenotype of MSCs grown on the scaffold. MSC proliferation was analyzed using the MTT test, during the early time points (2, 4, 6, days). Viability was assessed using calcein/acetyloxymethylester immunofluorescence dye and confocal microscopy analysis. Hyaluronic acid receptor (CD44), typical matrix ligament proteins (collagen type I, type III, laminin, fibronectin, actin), and chondrogenic/osteogenic markers (collagen type II and bone sialoprotein) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Our data demonstrated that MSC growth and viability were cell density-dependent. MSCs completely wrapped the fibers of the scaffold, expressed CD44, collagen type I, type III, laminin, fibronectin, and actin, and were negative to collagen type II and bone sialoprotein. These data demonstrate that MSCs survive well in the hyaluronan-based prototype ligament scaffold, as assessed after 2 days from seeding, and express CD44, a receptor important for scaffold interaction, and proteins responsible for the functional characteristics of the ligaments.

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