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J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2015 Dec;9(12):E239-51. doi: 10.1002/term.1650. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Processed xenogenic cartilage as innovative biomatrix for cartilage tissue engineering: effects on chondrocyte differentiation and function.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ulm University Medical Centre, Germany.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ulm University Medical Centre, Germany.
Institute of Bioprocess Engineering, University of Erlangen, Germany.
Institute of Orthopaedic Research and Biomechanics, Centre of Musculoskeletal Research Ulm, University of Ulm, Germany.


One key point in the development of new bioimplant matrices for the reconstruction and replacement of cartilage defects is to provide an adequate microenvironment to ensure chondrocyte migration and de novo synthesis of cartilage-specific extracellular matrix (ECM). A recently developed decellularization and sterilization process maintains the three-dimensional (3D) collagen structure of native septal cartilage while increasing matrix porosity, which is considered to be crucial for cartilage tissue engineering. Human primary nasal septal chondrocytes were amplified in monolayer culture and 3D-cultured on processed porcine nasal septal cartilage scaffolds. The influence of chondrogenic growth factors on neosynthesis of ECM proteins was examined at the protein and gene expression levels. Seeding experiments demonstrated that processed xenogenic cartilage matrices provide excellent environmental properties for human nasal septal chondrocytes with respect to cell adhesion, migration into the matrix and neosynthesis of cartilage-specific ECM proteins, such as collagen type II and aggrecan. Matrix biomechanical stability indicated that the constructs retrieve full stability and function during 3D culture for up to 42 days, proportional to collagen type II and GAG production. Thus, processed xenogenic cartilage offers a suitable environment for human nasal chondrocytes and has promising potential for cartilage tissue engineering in the head and neck region.


3D cell culture; cartilage reconstruction; cartilage tissue engineering; cell differentiation; extracellular matrix; xenogenic implant matrix

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