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Acta Biomater. 2013 Jan;9(1):4779-86. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2012.08.033. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

Injectable chitosan hyaluronic acid hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering.

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Division of Advanced Prosthodontics, Biomaterials and Hospital Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Injectable cartilaginous constructs that can form gels in tissue defects have many advantages in tissue engineering applications. In this study we created an injectable hydrogel consisting of methacrylated glycol chitosan (MeGC) and hyaluronic acid (HA) by photocrosslinking with a riboflavin photoinitiator under visible light. A minimum irradiation time of 40s was required to produce stable gels for cell encapsulation with 87-90% encapsulated chondrocyte viability. Although increasing the irradiation time from 40 to 600 s significantly enhanced the compressive modulus of the hydrogels up to 11 or 17 kPa for MeGC or MeGC/HA, respectively, these conditions reduced the encapsulated cell viability to 60-65%. The majority of chondrocytes encapsulated in MeGC hydrogels after 300 s irradiation maintained a rounded shape with a high cell viability of ~80-87% over a 21 day culture period. The incorporation of HA in MeGC hydrogels increased the proliferation and deposition of cartilaginous extracellular matrix by encapsulated chondrocytes. These findings demonstrate that MeGC/HA composite hydrogels have the potential for cartilage repair.

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