METHODS: The proximal tibia was resected as a single osteochondral unit during total knee replacement from patients (N = 10). The osteoarthritic chondrocytes were isolated from the osteochondral units, and characterized using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The isolated osteoarthritic chondrocytes were cultured and embedded in agarose, and then subjected to 10% and 20% uniaxial dynamic compression up to 8-days using a bioreactor. The morphological features and changes in the osteoarthritic chondrocytes upon compression were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy. Safranin O was used to detect the presence of cartilage matrix proteoglycan expression while quantitative analysis was conducted by measuring type VI collagen using an immunohistochemistry and fluorescence intensity assay.
FINDINGS: Gene expression analysis indicated that the isolated osteoarthritic chondrocytes expressed chondrocyte-specific markers, including BGN, CD90 and HSPG-2. Moreover, the compressed osteoarthritic chondrocytes showed a more intense and broader deposition of proteoglycan and type VI collagen than control. The expression of type VI collagen was directly proportional to the duration of compression in which 8-days compression was significantly higher than 4-days compression. The 20% compression showed significantly higher intensity compared to 10% compression in 4- and 8-days.
INTERPRETATION: The biosynthetic activity of human chondrocytes from osteoarthritic joints can be enhanced using selected compression regimes.
METHOD: A strain comprising 10% direct compression and 1% compressive shear was applied to bovine chondrocytes seeded in an agarose gel during two 12-hour conditioning periods separated by a 12-hour resting period.
RESULTS: The bi-axial-loaded chondrocytes demonstrated a significant increase in glycosaminoglycan synthesis compared with samples exposed to uni-axial or no loading over the same period (p<0.05). The use of a free-swelling recovery period prior to the loading regime resulted in additional glycosaminoglycan production and a significant increase in DNA content (p<0.05), indicating cell proliferation.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that the use of a bi-axial loading regime results in increased matrix production compared with uni-axial loading.
Methods: The genes were transferred into chondrocytes at passage-1 (P1) via lipofection. The post-transfected chondrocytes (SOX9-, TERT- and SOX9/TERT) were analysed at P1, P2 and P3. The non-transfected group was used as control. The 3D culture was established using the chondrocytes seeded in a disc-shaped PLGA/fibrin and PLGA scaffolds. The resulting 3D "cells-scaffolds" constructs were analysed at week-1, -2 and -3. The histoarchitecture was evaluated using haematoxylin and eosin, alcian blue and safranin o stains. The quantitative sulphated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) content was measured using biochemical assay. The cartilage-specific markers expression were analysed via real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Results: All monolayer cultured chondrocytes showed flattened, fibroblast-like appearance throughout passages. Proteoglycan and sGAG were not detected at the pericellular matrix region of the chondrocytes. The sGAG content assay indicated the matrix production depletion in the culture. The cartilage-specific markers, COL2A1 and ACAN, were downregulated. However, the dedifferentiation marker, COL1A1 was upregulated. In 3D "cells-scaffolds" constructs, regardless of transfection groups, chondrocytes seeded in PLGA/fibrin showed a more uniform distribution and produced denser matrix than the PLGA group especially at week-3. Both sGAG and proteoglycan were clearly visualised in the constructs, supported by the increment of sGAG content, quantitatively. Both COL2A1 and ACAN were upregulated in SOX9/TERT-PLGA and SOX9/TERT-PLGA/fibrin respectively. While, COL1A1 was downregulated in SOX9/TERT-PLGA.
Conclusion: These findings indicated that the SOX9/TERT-transfected chondrocytes incorporation into 3D scaffolds facilitates the cartilage regeneration which is viable structurally and functionally.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Chondrocyte/agarose constructs were treated with varying concentrations of TNFα (0.1-100 ng/ml) and cultured at 5 and 21 % oxygen tension for 48 h. In separate experiments, constructs were subjected to dynamic compression (15 %) and treated with TNFα (10 ng/ml) and/or L-NIO (1 mM) at 5 and 21 % oxygen tension using an ex vivo bioreactor for 48 h. Markers for catabolic activity (NO, PGE2) and tissue remodelling (GAG, MMPs) were quantified by biochemical assay. ADAMTS-5 and MMP-13 expression were examined by real-time qPCR. 2-way ANOVA and a post hoc Bonferroni-corrected t test were used to analyse data.
RESULTS: TNFα dose-dependently increased NO, PGE2 and MMP activity (all p
Methods: The OACs were expanded from passage 0 (P0) to P3, and cells in each passage were analyzed for gross morphology, growth rate, RNA expression and immunochemistry (IHC). The harvested OACs were assigned into two groups: low (1×10 cells/ml) and high (3×10 cells/ml) cell density. Three-dimensional (3D) constructs for each group were created using polymerised fibrin and cultured for 7, 14 and 21 days in vitro using chondrocyte growth medium. OAC constructs were analyzed with gross assessments and microscopic evaluation using standard histology, IHC and immunofluorescence staining, in addition to gene expression and biochemical analyses to evaluate tissue development.
Results: Constructs with a high seeding density of 3×10 cells/ml were associated with better quality cartilage-like tissue than those seeded with 1×10 cells/ml based on overall tissue formation, cell association and extracellular matrix distribution. The chondrogenic properties of the constructs were further confirmed by the expression of genes encoding aggrecan core protein and collagen type II.
Interpretation & conclusions: Our results confirmed that cell density was a significant factor affecting cell behaviour and aggregate production, and this was important for establishing good quality cartilage.