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Tissue Eng Part A. 2012 Jun;18(11-12):1151-60. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2011.0300. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Compaction enhances extracellular matrix content and mechanical properties of tissue-engineered cartilaginous constructs.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.


Many cell-based tissue-engineered cartilaginous constructs are mechanically softer than native tissue and have low content and abnormal proportions of extracellular matrix (ECM) constituents. We hypothesized that the load-bearing mechanical properties of cartilaginous constructs improve with the inclusion of collagen (COL) and proteoglycan (PG) during assembly. The objectives of this work were to determine (1) the effect of addition of PG, COL, or COL+PG on compressive properties of 2% agarose constructs and (2) the ability of mechanical compaction to concentrate matrix content and improve the compressive properties of such constructs. The inclusion of COL+PG improved the compressive properties of hydrogel constructs compared with PG or COL alone. Mechanical compaction increased the PG and COL concentrations in and compressive stiffness of the constructs. Chondrocytes included in the constructs maintained high viability after compaction. These results support the concepts that the assembly of cartilaginous constructs with COL+PG and application of mechanical compaction enhance the ECM content and compressive properties of engineered cartilaginous constructs.

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