Creating a spectrum of fibrocartilages through different cell sources and biochemical stimuli

Gwendolyn M. Hoben, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In this study a scaffoldless approach was employed with two different cell sources and biochemical stimuli to engineer a spectrum of fibrocartilages representative of the different regions of the knee meniscus. Constructs composed of 100% fibrochondrocytes (FC) or a 50:50 co-culture of fibrochondrocytes and chondrocytes (CC) were cultured in 10% fetal bovine serum medium or serum-free "chondrogenic" medium, each ±10 ng/mL TGF-β1 (+T). Constructs from these two cell groups and four culture conditions were cultured for 6 weeks. By varying the cell type and presence of the growth factor, GAG per dry weight of the constructs spanned that of native tissue, ranging 16-45% and 1-7% in the CC and FC groups, respectively. Collagen density was most dependent on cell type and was significantiy lower than tissue values. The collagen I/II ratio could be manipulated by cell type and serum presence to span the native range, from 3.5 in the serum-free CC group to over 1,000 in the FC groups treated with serum-containing medium. Using the CC cell group in the presence of serum-free medium dramatically increased the compressive stiffness to 128 ± 34 kPa, similar to native tissue. Similarly, serum-free medium or TGF-β1 treatment enhanced the tensile modulus by an order of magnitude, up to 3,000 kPa. Using two cell sources and manipulating biochemical stimuli, a range of fibrocartilaginous neotissues was engineered. Fibrocartilages such as the knee meniscus are characterfeed by heterogeneity in matrix and functional properties, and this work demonstrates a strategy for recreating these heterogeneous tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-598
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 15 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Chondrocytes
  • Fibrocartilage
  • Fibrochondrocytes
  • Serum-free
  • Tissue engineering
  • Transforming growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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