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Biomaterials. 2008 Nov;29(32):4292-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.07.018. Epub 2008 Aug 20.

The effect of devitalized trabecular bone on the formation of osteochondral tissue-engineered constructs.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 351 Engineering Terrace MC8904, 1210 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, United States.


In the current study, evidence is presented demonstrating that devitalized trabecular bone has an inhibitory effect on in vitro chondral tissue development when used as a base material for the tissue-engineering of osteochondral constructs for cartilage repair. Chondrocyte-seeded agarose hydrogel constructs were cultured alone or attached to an underlying bony base in a chemically defined medium formulation that has been shown to yield engineered cartilaginous tissue with native Young's modulus (E(Y)) and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content. By day 42 in culture the incorporation of a bony base significantly reduced these properties (E(Y)=87+/-12 kPa, GAG=1.9+/-0.8%ww) compared to the gel-alone group (E(Y)=642+/-97 kPa, GAG=4.6+/-1.4%ww). Similarly, the mechanical and biochemical properties of chondrocyte-seeded agarose constructs were inhibited when co-cultured adjacent to bone (unattached), suggesting that soluble factors rather than direct cell-bone interactions mediate the chondro-inhibitory bone effects. Altering the method of bone preparation, including demineralization, or the timing of bone introduction in co-culture did not ameliorate the effects. In contrast, osteochondral constructs with native cartilage properties (E(Y)=730+/-65 kPa, GAG=5.2+/-0.9%ww) were achieved when a porous tantalum metal base material was adopted instead of bone. This work suggests that devitalized bone may not be a suitable substrate for long-term cultivation of osteochondral grafts.

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