Toward addressing the difficult problems of knee meniscus regeneration, a self-assembling process has been used to re-create the native morphology and matrix properties. A significant problem in such attempts is the recapitulation of the distinct zones of the meniscus, the inner, more cartilaginous and the outer, more fibrocartilaginous zones. In this study, an anisotropic and zonally variant meniscus was produced by self-assembly of the inner meniscus (100% chondrocytes) followed by cell seeding the outer meniscus (coculture of chondrocytes and meniscus cells). After 4 weeks in culture, the engineered, inner meniscus exhibited a 42% increase in both instantaneous and relaxation moduli and a 62% increase in GAG/DW, as compared to the outer meniscus. In contrast, the circumferential tensile modulus and collagen/DW of the outer zone was 101% and 129% higher, respectively, than the values measured for the inner zone. Furthermore, there was no difference in the radial tensile modulus between the control and zonal engineered menisci, suggesting that the inner and outer zones of the engineered zonal menisci successfully integrated. These data demonstrate that not only can biomechanical and biochemical properties be engineered to differ by the zone, but they can also recapitulate the anisotropic behavior of the knee meniscus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering