Assessment of growth factor treatment on fibrochondrocyte and chondrocyte co-cultures for TMJ fibrocartilage engineering

Kerem N. Kalpakci, Eric J. Kim, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Treatments for patients suffering from severe temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction are limited, motivating the development of strategies for tissue regeneration. In this study, co-cultures of fibrochondrocytes (FCs) and articular chondrocytes (ACs) were seeded in agarose wells, and supplemented with growth factors, to engineer tissue with biomechanical properties and extracellular matrix composition similar to native TMJ fibrocartilage. In the first phase, growth factors were applied alone and in combination, in the presence or absence of serum, while in the second phase, the best overall treatment was applied at intermittent dosing. Continuous treatment of AC/FC co-cultures with TGF-β1 in serum-free medium resulted in constructs with glycosaminoglycan/wet weight ratios (12.2%), instantaneous compressive moduli (790 kPa), relaxed compressive moduli (120 kPa) and Young's moduli (1.87 MPa) that overlap with native TMJ disc values. Among co-culture groups, TGF-β1 treatment increased collagen deposition ∼20%, compressive stiffness ∼130% and Young's modulus ∼170% relative to controls without growth factor. Serum supplementation, though generally detrimental to functional properties, was identified as a powerful mediator of FC construct morphology. Finally, both intermittent and continuous TGF-β1 treatment showed positive effects, though continuous treatment resulted in greater enhancement of construct functional properties. This work proposes a strategy for regeneration of TMJ fibrocartilage and its future application will be realized through translation of these findings to clinically viable cell sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1710-1718
Number of pages9
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Fibrocartilage
  • Growth factors
  • Scaffoldless
  • Tissue engineering
  • TMJ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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