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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2014 Sep;102(9):2918-26. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34957. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Hybrid hyaluronic acid hydrogel/poly(ɛ-caprolactone) scaffold provides mechanically favorable platform for cartilage tissue engineering studies.

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Musculoskeletal and Translational Tissue Engineering Research (MATTER) Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.


Hybrid scaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering provide the potential for high stiffness properties in tension and compression while exhibiting the viscoelastic response found in hydrogels and native cartilage tissue. We investigate the impact of a hybrid scaffold fabricated from a hyaluronic acid (HA)-based hydrogel combined with porous poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) material formed by a particulate leaching method to study dedifferentiated chondrocyte response. The material properties of the hybrid scaffold showed mean Young's moduli in tension which were similar to human articular cartilage but not statistically different between the hybrid and porous PCL scaffolds at 2.02 and 2.07 MPa, respectively. For both the hybrid and porous PCL control scaffolds in compression at low loading frequencies (<1 Hz) and 10% strain peak amplitude the Young's moduli are not statistically distinct. However, at frequencies in the range of normal human gait from 1 to2 Hz, hybrid scaffolds exhibit significantly (p < 0.01) increased loss moduli indicating additional contribution of the viscous phase to stiffness. Dedifferentiated chondrocytes seeded onto the scaffolds exhibited a rounded morphology in hybrid scaffolds however ECM protein expression levels of collagen type I, collagen type II, and aggrecan are not different from the PCL control scaffolds. These results provide a model platform to investigate cell response to mechanical and chemical cues in a hybrid scaffold system with mechanical properties similar to human cartilage that does not contribute to differentiation in order to identify the appropriate design and development parameters to promote formation of extracellular matrix and investigate chondrocyte scaffold interactions.


articular cartilage; dynamic mechanical analysis; hyaluronic acid; poly(ɛ-caprolactone); tissue engineering

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