Beneficial effects of exogenous crosslinking agents on self-assembled tissue engineered cartilage construct biomechanical properties

Benjamin D. Elder, Arvind Mohan, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. As articular cartilage is unable to repair itself, there is a tremendous clinical need for a tissue engineered replacement tissue. Current tissue engineering efforts using the self-assembly process have demonstrated promising results, but the biomechanical properties remain at roughly 50% of native tissue. Methodology/Principal Findings. The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of using exogenous crosslinking agents to enhance the biomechanical properties of a scaffoldless cartilage tissue engineering approach. Four crosslinking agents (glutaraldehyde, ribose, genipin, and methylglyoxal) were applied each at a single concentration and single application time. It was determined that ribose application resulted in a significant 69% increase in Young's modulus, a significant 47% increase in ultimate tensile strength, as well as a trend toward a significant increase in aggregate modulus. Additionally, methylglyoxal application resulted in a significant 58% increase in Young's modulus. No treatments altered the biochemical content of the tissue. Conclusions/Significance. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the use of exogenous crosslinking agents on any tissue formed using a scaffoldless tissue engineering approach. In particular, this study demonstrates that a one-time treatment with crosslinking agents can be employed effectively to enhance the biomechanical properties of tissue engineered articular cartilage. The results are exciting, as they demonstrate the feasibility of using exogenous crosslinking agents to enhance the biomechanical properties without the need for increased glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and collagen content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-443
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

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Keywords

  • biomechanical testing
  • Cartilage
  • crosslinking
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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