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Tissue Eng Part A. 2011 Jan;17(1-2):161-9. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2010.0253. Epub 2010 Dec 12.

Injectable and photopolymerizable tissue-engineered auricular cartilage using poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate copolymer hydrogels.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


In this study we investigated the histological, biochemical, and integrative features of the neocartilage using swine auricular chondrocytes photoencapsulated into two poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDM) copolymer hydrogels of a different degradation profile: degradable (PEG-4,5LA-DM) and nondegradable (PEGDM) macromers in molar ratios of 60:40 and 70:30. Integration of the engineered tissue with existing native cartilage was examined using an articular cartilaginous ring model. Experimental group samples (total n=96) were implanted subcutaneously into nude mice and harvested at 6, 12, and 18 weeks. Nonimplanted constructs (total n=16) were used as controls for quantification of DNA, glycosaminoglycan, and hydroxyproline. Histologically, neocartilage resembled both the cellular population and composition of the extracellular matrix of the native swine auricular cartilage. DNA content demonstrated that the photoencapsulated chondrocytes were capable of survival and proliferation over time. Both glycosaminoglycan and hydroxyproline contents appeared higher in the neotissue, which was supported by less degradable PEGDM hydrogel. Integration of neocartilage with surrounding native cartilage improved with time, resulting in the development of tight integration interface. PEGDM copolymer hydrogels can support in vivo chondrogenesis by photoencapsulating auricular chondrocytes.

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