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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2010 Oct;16(5):865-76. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2009.0444.

Fabrication and repair of cartilage defects with a novel acellular cartilage matrix scaffold.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Second Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, PR China.


The objectives of this study were to develop a three-dimensional acellular cartilage matrix (ACM) and investigate its possibility for use as a scaffold in cartilage tissue engineering. Bovine articular cartilage was decellularized sequentially with trypsin, nuclease solution, hypotonic buffer, and Triton x 100 solution; molded with freeze-drying process; and cross-linked by ultraviolet irradiation. Histological and biochemical analysis showed that the ACM was devoid of cells and still maintained the collagen and glycosaminoglycan components of cartilage. Scanning electronic microscopy and mercury intrusion porosimetry showed that the ACM had a sponge-like structure of high porosity. The ACM scaffold had good biocompatibility with cultured rabbit bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells with no indication of cytotoxicity both in contact and in extraction assays. The cartilage defects repair in rabbit knees with the mesenchymal stem cell-ACM constructs had a significant improvement of histological scores when compared to the control groups at 6 and 12 weeks. In summary, the ACM possessed the characteristics that afford it as a potential scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering.

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