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Biomaterials. 2009 Nov;30(33):6530-40. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.08.019. Epub 2009 Sep 3.

In vitro model of mesenchymal condensation during chondrogenic development.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.


Mesenchymal condensation is a pre-requisite of chondrogenesis during embryonic development. The current understanding of chondrogenesis is limited in terms of chondrogenic condensation mechanisms. In particular, the role of matrix stiffness on homotypic cell-cell interactions leading to the establishment of distinct aggregated chondrogenic morphology from mesenchymal cells is unclear. An in vitro biomaterials-based model to assess the interactions of matrix stiffness on chondrogensis is described herein, where by sensing subtle variation in morphology and stiffness of nanofibrous silk protein matrixes human mesenchymal stem cells migrated and assumed aggregated morphologies, mimicking early stage chondrogenesis. This simple in vitro model system has potential to play a significant role to gain insight into underlying mechanisms of mesenchymal condensation steps during chondrogenesis, integrating concepts of developmental biology, biomaterials and tissue engineering.

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