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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2006 Feb 20;93(3):519-33.

Optimal in-vitro expansion of chondroprogenitor cells in monolayer culture.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Birmingham, UK.


A continuous production of large quantities of chondroprogenitor cells for the manufacture of engineered cartilage tissue products is required. Expansion of the cell population in vitro has become an essential step in the process of tissue engineering of articular cartilage and the optimization of the culture conditions is a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed. The analysis of both seeding density and passage length was considered crucial in the optimization of expansion processes, and their correct selection should be taken as a requisite to establish culture conditions for monolayer systems. The determination of the optimal seeding density and the corresponding passage length for cell expansion in a serial passaging operation was found to be a compromise between growth kinetics and process time. This optimal determination was carried out using a mathematical approach that led to values of 10(4) cell/cm(2) for seeding density and 73 h for passage length. Additional considerations concerning the running cost of the process were introduced. Although the optimal passage length gave the desired expansion factor in a minimum process time, the selection of an alternative value of 120 h was shown to reduce the cost of the expansion process in more than 60%. The optimization approach presented will contribute to the development of feasible large scale expansion operations of chondroprogenitor cells required by the cartilage tissue engineering industry.

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