Heparin-based self-assembling peptide scaffold reestablish chondrogenic phenotype of expanded de-differentiated human chondrocytes

Lourdes Recha-Sancho, Carlos E. Semino

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The use of chondrocytes in cell-based therapies for cartilage lesions are limited by quantity and, therefore, require an in vitro expansion. As monolayer culture leads to de-differentiation, different culture techniques are currently under development to recover chondrocyte phenotype after cell expansion. In the present work, we studied the capacity of the bimolecular heparin-based self-assembling peptide scaffold (RAD16-I) as a three-dimensional (3D) culture system to foster reestablishment of chondrogenic phenotype of de-differentiated human Articular Chondrocytes (AC). The culture was performed in a serum-free medium under control and chondrogenic induction and good viability results were observed after 4 weeks of culture in both conditions. Cells changed their morphology to a more elongated shape and established a cellular network that induced the condensation of the constructs in the case of chondrogenic medium, leading to a compacted structure with improved mechanical properties. Specific extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins of mature cartilage, such as collagen type II and aggrecan were up-regulated under chondrogenic medium and significantly enhanced with the presence of heparin in the scaffold. 3D constructs became highly stained with toluidine blue dye after 4 weeks of culture, indicating the presence of synthetized proteoglycans (PGs) by the cells. Interestingly, the full viscoelastic behavior was closely related to that found in chicken native cartilage. Altogether, the results suggest that the 3D culture model described can help de-differentiated human chondrocytes to recover its cartilage phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1694-1706
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Volume104
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • 3D cell culture
  • cartilage
  • cell differentiation
  • human chondrocytes
  • tissue engineering

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