In view of poor regeneration potential of the articular cartilage, in-vitro engineering of cartilage tissue offers a promising option for progressive joint disease. This study aims to develop a biologically engineered articular cartilage for autologous transplantation. The initial work involved determination of chondrocyte yield and viability, and morphological analysis. Cartilage was harvested from the knee, hip and shoulder joints of adult New Zealand white rabbits and chondrocytes were isolated by enzymatic digestion of the extra-cellular matrix before serial cultivation in DMEM/Ham's F12 media as monolayer cultures. No differences were noted in cell yield. Although chondrocytes viability was optimal (>93%) following harvest from native cartilage, their viability tended to be lowered on passaging. Chondrocytes aggregated in isogenous colonies comprising ovoid cells with intimate intracellular contacts and readily exhibited Safranin-O positive matrix; features typically associated with articular cartilage in-vivo. However, chondrocytes also existed concurrently in scattered bipolar/multipolar forms lacking Safranin-O expression. Therefore, early data demonstrated successful serial culture of adult chondrocytes with differentiated morphology seen in established chondrocyte colonies synthesizing matrix proteoglycans.
Morphological studies of live connective tissue cells are imperative to helping understand cellular responses to mechanical stimuli. However, photobleaching is a constant problem to accurate and reliable live cell fluorescent imaging, and various image thresholding methods have been adopted to account for photobleaching effects. Previous studies showed that dual photon excitation (DPE) techniques are superior over conventional one photon excitation (OPE) confocal techniques in minimizing photobleaching. In this study, we investigated the effects of photobleaching resulting from OPE and DPE on morphology of in situ articular cartilage chondrocytes across repeat laser exposures. Additionally, we compared the effectiveness of three commonly-used image thresholding methods in accounting for photobleaching effects, with and without tissue loading through compression. In general, photobleaching leads to an apparent volume reduction for subsequent image scans. Performing seven consecutive scans of chondrocytes in unloaded cartilage, we found that the apparent cell volume loss caused by DPE microscopy is much smaller than that observed using OPE microscopy. Applying scan-specific image thresholds did not prevent the photobleaching-induced volume loss, and volume reductions were non-uniform over the seven repeat scans. During cartilage loading through compression, cell fluorescence increased and, depending on the thresholding method used, led to different volume changes. Therefore, different conclusions on cell volume changes may be drawn during tissue compression, depending on the image thresholding methods used. In conclusion, our findings confirm that photobleaching directly affects cell morphology measurements, and that DPE causes less photobleaching artifacts than OPE for uncompressed cells. When cells are compressed during tissue loading, a complicated interplay between photobleaching effects and compression-induced fluorescence increase may lead to interpretations in cell responses to mechanical stimuli that depend on the microscopic approach and the thresholding methods used and may result in contradictory interpretations.
Experimental findings indicate that in-situ chondrocytes die readily following impact loading, but remain essentially unaffected at low (non-impact) strain rates. This study was aimed at identifying possible causes for cell death in impact loading by quantifying chondrocyte mechanics when cartilage was subjected to a 5% nominal tissue strain at different strain rates. Multi-scale modelling techniques were used to simulate cartilage tissue and the corresponding chondrocytes residing in the tissue. Chondrocytes were modelled by accounting for the cell membrane, pericellular matrix and pericellular capsule. The results suggest that cell deformations, cell fluid pressures and fluid flow velocity through cells are highest at the highest (impact) strain rate, but they do not reach damaging levels. Tangential strain rates of the cell membrane were highest at the highest strain rate and were observed primarily in superficial tissue cells. Since cell death following impact loading occurs primarily in superficial zone cells, we speculate that cell death in impact loading is caused by the high tangential strain rates in the membrane of superficial zone cells causing membrane rupture and loss of cell content and integrity.
Human amniotic membrane (HAM) is an established biomaterial used in many clinical applications. However, its use for tissue engineering purposes has not been fully realized. A study was therefore conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using HAM as a chondrocyte substrate/carrier. HAMs were obtained from fresh human placenta and were process to produced air dried HAM (AdHAM) and freeze dried HAM (FdHAM). Rabbit chondrocytes were isolated and expanded in vitro and seeded onto these preparations. Cell proliferation, GAG expression and GAG/cell expression were measured at days 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 21, and 28. These were compared to chondrocytes seeded onto plastic surfaces. Histological analysis and scanning electron microscopy was performed to observe cell attachment. There was significantly higher cell proliferation rates observed between AdHAM (13-51%, P=0.001) or FdHAM (18-48%, p = 0.001) to chondrocytes in monolayer. Similarly, GAG and GAG/cell expressed in AdHAM (33-82%, p = 0.001; 22-60%, p = 0.001) or FdHAM (41-81%, p = 0.001: 28-60%, p = 0.001) were significantly higher than monolayer cultures. However, no significant differences were observed in the proliferation rates (p = 0.576), GAG expression (p = 0.476) and GAG/cell expression (p = 0.135) between AdHAM and FdHAM. The histology and scanning electron microscopy assessments demonstrates good chondrocyte attachments on both HAMs. In conclusion, both AdHAM and FdHAM provide superior chondrocyte proliferation, GAG expression, and attachment than monolayer cultures making it a potential substrate/carrier for cell based cartilage therapy and transplantation.
Mesenchymal stem cells are pluripotent progenitors that could be found in human bone marrow. Mesenchymal stem cells are capable of renewing themselves without differentiation in long-term culture. These cells also have low immunogenicity and can suppress alloreactive T cell responses. In the current study, mesenchymal stem cells isolated and propagated previously from the bone marrow of a megaloblastic anaemia patient were tested for their capabilities to differentiate into adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteoblasts in vitro. The differentiated cells were determined by Oil Red O, Alcian Blue-PAS and Alizarin Red S staining, and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction to determine the expression of mRNA specific for adipogenesis, chondrogenesis and osteogenesis. The results showed that the fibroblast-like cells were capable of differentiating into adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteoblasts upon chemical induction. The adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteoblasts were stained positively to Oil Red O, Alcian Blue-PAS and Alizarin Red S respectively. The differentiated cells were also found to express mRNA specific for adipogenesis ('peroxisome proliferation-activated receptor gamma2' and lipoprotein lipase), chondrogenesis (collagen type II) and osteogenesis (osteocalcin, osteopontin and alkaline phosphatase). In conclusion, this research has successfully isolated fibroblast-like cells from human bone marrow and these cells demonstrated morphological, cytochemical and immunochemical characteristics similar to mesenchymal stem cells. These cells maintain their proliferative properties and could be differentiated into the mesoderm lineage. The success of this study is vital because mesenchymal stem cells can be used in cellular therapy to regenerate or replace damaged tissues, or as a vehicle for therapeutic gene delivery in the future.
Chondrocytes were isolated from normal and microtic human auricular cartilage after ear surgery carried out at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre. Chondrocytes were cultured and expanded until passage 4. After reached confluence, cultured chondrocytes at each passage (P1, P2, P3 and P4) were harvested and assigned for growth profile analysis. There was no significant difference in cell viability between both normal and microtic samples (p = 0.84). Both samples showed no significant differences for growth profile parameters in terms of growth rate, population doubling time and total number of cell doubling, except in passage 1, where there is significant difference in cell growth rate (p = 0.004). This preliminary data has indicated that chondrocytes from microtic cartilage has the potential to be used in the reconstruction of human pinna in the future.
Cartilage is regularly needed for reconstructive surgery. Basic research in tissue engineering is necessary to develop its full potential. We presented here the expression profile of type II collagen gene and type I collagen gene in human auricular monolayer culture expansion. Cultured chondrocytes documented a reduction in the expression level of collagen type II gene whilst collagen type I gene was gradually expressed through all the passages. This study demonstrated that human auricular chondrocytes lose its phenotypic expression during monolayer culture expansion. Further studies are required to enhance cartilage specific gene expression, collagen type II throughout the in vitro culture.
To date there is no optimal approach to reconstruct an external ear. However, advances in tissue engineering technologies have indicated that in vitro autologous elastic cartilage might be of great importance in the future treatment of these patients. The aim of this study was to observe monolayer expansion of auricular cartilage and to evaluate engineered cartilage using standard histochemical study.
The ability to regenerate new bone for skeletal use is a major clinical need. In this study, two novel porous calcium phosphate materials pure HA and biphasic HA/beta-Tricalcium phosphate (HA/beta -TCP) were evaluated as potential scaffolds for cell-seeded bone substitutes using human osteoblast-like cells (HOS) and primary human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). A high rate of proliferation was observed on both scaffolds. A greater increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP- an indicator of osteoblast differentiation) was observed on HA/beta -TCP compared to HA. This observation indicates that HA/TCP may play a role in inducing osteoblastic differentiation. Although further evaluation is required both materials show potential as innovative synthetic substitutes for tissue engineered scaffolds.
Treatment of articular cartilage lesions remains a clinical challenge. The uses of prosthetic joint replace allograft and/or autograft transplant carry a risk of complications due to infection, loosening of its component, immunological rejection and morbidity at the donor site. There has been an increasing interest in the management of cartilage damages, owing to the introduction of new therapeutic options. Tissue engineering as a method for tissue restoration begins to provide a potential alternative therapy for autologous grafts transplantations. We aimed to evaluate how well a tissue engineered neocartilage implant, consist of human articular chondrocytes cultured with the presence of autologous serum and mixed in a fresh fibrin derived from patient, would perform in subcutaneous implantation in athymic mice.
Animal serum is commonly used in chondrocytes culture expansion to promote cell proliferation and shorten the time lag before new tissue reconstruction is possible. However, animal serum is not suitable for regeneration of clinical tissue because it has potential risk of viral and prion related disease transmission particularly mad cow disease and foreign protein contamination that can stimulate immune reaction leading to graft rejection. In this context, human serum as homologous supplement has a greater potential as growth promoting agents for human chondrocytes culture.
Autologous cells are usually preferred in treating damaged tissue to avoid risks of immunological rejection and transmitting infectious diseases. Since only limited amount of tissue can be obtained without causing morbidity at the donor site, in vitro expansion of isolated cell is essential in order to acquire sufficient number of cells to reconstruct neocartilage. The aim of this study was to examine whether serial expanded chondrocytes can be use to generate neocartilage in vivo.
Culture media supplemented with animal serum e.g. fetal bovine serum; FBS is commonly used for human culture expansion. However, for clinical application, FBS is restricted as its carry a risk of viral or prion transmission. Engineering autologous cartilage with autologous human serum supplementation is seen as a better solution to reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases and immune rejection during cartilage transplantation. The purpose of this study is to establish and compare the effects of 10% autologous human serum (AHS) and 10% FBS on the growth of chondrocytes and the formation of tissue engineered human articular cartilage.
This study aimed to isolate, culture-expand and characterize the chondrocytes isolated from microtic cartilage and evaluate its potential as a cell source for ear cartilage reconstruction. Specific attention was to construct the auricular cartilage tissue by using fibrin as scaffold.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold many advantages over embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and other somatic cells in clinical applications. MSCs are multipotent cells with strong immunosuppressive properties. They can be harvested from various locations in the human body (e.g., bone marrow and adipose tissues). Cryopreservation represents an efficient method for the preservation and pooling of MSCs, to obtain the cell counts required for clinical applications, such as cell-based therapies and regenerative medicine. Upon cryopreservation, it is important to preserve MSCs functional properties including immunomodulatory properties and multilineage differentiation ability. Further, a biosafety evaluation of cryopreserved MSCs is essential prior to their clinical applications. However, the existing cryopreservation methods for MSCs are associated with notable limitations, leading to a need for new or improved methods to be established for a more efficient application of cryopreserved MSCs in stem cell-based therapies. We review the important parameters for cryopreservation of MSCs and the existing cryopreservation methods for MSCs. Further, we also discuss the challenges to be addressed in order to preserve MSCs effectively for clinical applications.
Functional tissue engineering has emerged as a potential means for treatment of cartilage defect. Development of a stable cartilage composite is considered to be a good option. The aim of the study was to observe whether the incorporation of cultured chondrocytes on porous tantalum utilizing fibrin as a cell carrier would promote cartilage tissue formation.
Mechanical loading modulates cartilage homeostasis through the control of matrix synthesis and catabolism. However, the mechanotransduction pathways through which chondrocytes detect different loading conditions remain unclear. The present study investigated the influence of cyclic compression on intracellular Ca2+ signalling using the well-characterised chondrocyte-agarose model. Cells labelled with Fluo4 were visualised using confocal microscopy following a period of 10 cycles of compression between 0% and 10% strain. In unstrained agarose constructs, not subjected to cyclic compression, a subpopulation of approximately 45% of chondrocytes exhibited spontaneous global Ca2+ transients with mean transient rise and fall times of 19.4 and 29.4 sec, respectively. Cyclic compression modulated global Ca2+ signalling by increasing the percentage of cells exhibiting Ca2+ transients (population modulation) and/or reducing the rise and fall times of these transients (transient shape modulation). The frequency and strain rate of compression differentially modulated these Ca2+ signalling characteristics providing a potential mechanism through which chondrocytes may distinguish between different loading conditions. Treatment with apyrase, gadolinium and the P2 receptor blockers, suramin and basilen blue, significantly reduced the percentage of cells exhibiting Ca2+ transients following cyclic compression, such that the mechanically induced upregulation of Ca2+ signalling was completely abolished. Thus cyclic compression appears to activate a purinergic pathway involving the release of ATP followed by the activation of P2 receptors causing a combination of extracellular Ca2+ influx and intracellular Ca2+ release. Knowledge of this fundamental cartilage mechanotransduction pathway may lead to improved therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cartilage damage and disease.
In vitro cellular proliferation and the ability to undergo multilineage differentiation make bone marrow-derived multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) potentially useful for clinical applications. Several methods have been described to isolate a homogenous bone marrow-derived MSCs population; however, none has been proven most effective, mainly due to their effects on proliferation and differentiation capability of the isolated cells. It is hypothesized that our newly established total cell pooling method may provide a better alternative as compared to the standard isolation method (density gradient centrifugation method). For the total cell pooling method, MSCs were isolated from rabbit bone marrow and were subsequently cultured in the growth medium without further separation as in the standard isolation method. The total cell pooling method was 65 min faster than the standard isolation method in completing cell isolation. Nevertheless, both methods did not differ significantly in the number of primary viable cells and population doubling time in the cultures (p > 0.05). The isolated cells from both methods expressed CD29 and CD44 markers, but not CD45 markers. Furthermore, they displayed multilineage differentiation characteristics of chondroblasts, osteoblasts, and adipocytes. In conclusion, both methods provide similar efficiency in the isolation of rabbit bone marrow-derived MSCs; however, the total cell pooling method is technically simpler and more cost effective than the standard isolation method.