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Adv Healthc Mater. 2016 Jul;5(14):1753-63. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201600083. Epub 2016 Apr 24.

Tuning Cell Differentiation into a 3D Scaffold Presenting a Pore Shape Gradient for Osteochondral Regeneration.

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Tissue Regeneration Department, University of Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522, NB, Enschede, The Netherlands.
Complex Tissue Regeneration Department, MERLN Institute for Technology Inspired Regenerative Medicine, Maastricht University, 6229, ER, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, via Muroni 25, Italy.
AMIBM Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials, Maastricht UniversityPO Box 616, 6200, MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Osteochondral regeneration remains nowadays a major problem since the outcome of current techniques is not satisfactory in terms of functional tissue formation and development. A possible solution is the combination of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with additive manufacturing technologies to fabricate scaffolds with instructive properties. In this study, the differentiation of hMSCs within a scaffold presenting a gradient in pore shape is presented. The variation in pore shape is determined by varying the angle formed by the fibers of two consequent layers. The fiber deposition patterns are 0-90, which generate squared pores, 0-45, 0-30, and 0-15, that generate rhomboidal pores with an increasing major axis as the deposition angle decreases. Within the gradient construct, squared pores support a better chondrogenic differentiation whereas cells residing in the rhomboidal pores display a better osteogenic differentiation. When cultured under osteochondral conditions the trend in both osteogenic and chondrogenic markers is maintained. Engineering the pore shape, thus creating axial gradients in structural properties, seems to be an instructive strategy to fabricate functional 3D scaffolds that are able to influence hMSCs differentiation for osteochondral tissue regeneration.


gradients; regenerative medicine; scaffolds; stem cells

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