Critical seeding density improves the properties and translatability of self-assembling anatomically shaped knee menisci

Pasha Hadidi, Timothy C. Yeh, Jerry C. Hu, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A recent development in the field of tissue engineering is the rise of all-biologic, scaffold-free engineered tissues. Since these biomaterials rely primarily upon cells, investigation of initial seeding densities constitutes a particularly relevant aim for tissue engineers. In this study, a scaffold-free method was used to create fibrocartilage in the shape of the rabbit knee meniscus. The objectives of this study were to: (i) determine the minimum seeding density, normalized by an area of 44 mm2, necessary for the self-assembling process of fibrocartilage to occur; (ii) examine relevant biomechanical properties of engineered fibrocartilage, such as tensile and compressive stiffness and strength, and their relationship to seeding density; and (iii) identify a reduced, or optimal, number of cells needed to produce this biomaterial. It was found that a decreased initial seeding density, normalized by the area of the construct, produced superior mechanical and biochemical properties. Collagen per wet weight, glycosaminoglycans per wet weight, tensile properties and compressive properties were all significantly greater in the 5 million cells per construct group as compared to the historical 20 million cells per construct group. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that a lower seeding density results in a denser tissue. Additionally, the translational potential of the self-assembling process for tissue engineering was improved though this investigation, as fewer cells may be used in the future. The results of this study underscore the potential for critical seeding densities to be investigated when researching scaffold-free engineered tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Biomaterials
  • Biomechanics
  • Knee meniscus
  • Self-assembling process
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Critical seeding density improves the properties and translatability of self-assembling anatomically shaped knee menisci'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this