Hyaline articular cartilage is a specialised connective tissue with weight bearing and adsorbing functions. Injury or loss of which often leads to impaired joint function and severe pain. Since the self-renewing abilities of hyaline articular cartilage are limited, there is major interest in the development of bioengineered cartilaginous implants. A cell-matrix-biocomposite composed of a collagen I/III scaffold seeded with autologous chondrocytes is currently being used in clinical trials; however, in order to optimise culture conditions, we cultured human condrocytes and seeded them on type I/III collagen membranes and on Thermanox plastic coverslips with media containing 0 to 500 μg/ml Hyaluronic Acid. After 4 days, the cells were either fixed or BrdU incorporation procedures begun. HE staining clearly demonstrated that cells grown in HA form three dimensional clusters and produce secretory vesicles as opposed to the monolayer control cells with noticeably fewer secretory vesicles. BrdU incorporation revealed a noticeable increase in cell proliferation in cells grown in 100 μg/ml; however, no comparable increase in 500 μg/ml but rather a slight depression in proliferation. Immunohistochemistry for collagen II and aggrecan revealed an obvious increase in deposition of these two substances with increased HA administration as compared to the control; however, again, the higher concentration of HA, 500 μg/ml, did not result in a further increase in production. These results suggest that HA at 100 μg/ml not only influences chondrocytes to differentiate and produce more Collagen II and aggrecan, but also increases proliferation. We, therefore, propose that the addition of HA at low to middle dosages in condrocyte culturing might help improve condrocyte redifferentation and thus, the bioengineered cartilage.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)