Joint injury is a common cause of premature retirement for the human and equine athlete alike. Implantation of engineered cartilage offers the potential to increase the success rate of surgical intervention and hasten recovery times. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a particularly attractive cell source for cartilage engineering. While bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) have been most extensively characterized for musculoskeletal tissue engineering, studies suggest that cord blood MSCs (CB-MSCs) may elicit a more robust chondrogenic phenotype. The objective of this study was to determine a superior equine MSC source for cartilage engineering. MSCs derived from bone marrow or cord blood were stimulated to undergo chondrogenesis through aggregate redifferentiation and used to generate cartilage through the self-assembling process. The resulting neocartilage produced from either BM-MSCs or CB-MSCs was compared by measuring mechanical, biochemical, and histological properties. We found that while BM constructs possessed higher tensile properties and collagen content, CB constructs had superior compressive properties comparable to that of native tissue and higher GAG content. Moreover, CB constructs had alkaline phosphatase activity, collagen type X, and collagen type II on par with native tissue suggesting a more hyaline cartilage-like phenotype. In conclusion, while both BM-MSCs and CB-MSCs were able to form neocartilage, CB-MSCs resulted in tissue more closely resembling native equine articular cartilage as determined by a quantitative functionality index. Therefore, CB-MSCs are deemed a superior source for the purpose of articular cartilage self-assembly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering