Objective. To develop a process that yields tissue-engineered articular cartilage constructs from skin-derived cells. Methods. Dermis-isolated, aggrecan-sensitive (DIAS) cells were isolated using a modified rapid adherence process. The chondrogenic potential was measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunohistochemistry. Filamentous actin (F-actin) and vinculin organization was detected using fluorescence microscopy. Results. The rapid adherence process led to a selection of DIAS cells, <10% of the entire population. DIAS cells displayed greater chondroinduction potential, as evidenced by the formation of large numbers of chondrocytic nodules on aggrecan-coated surfaces. In addition, these cells showed higher gene expression and protein production in terms of chondrocytic markers when compared with unpurified dermis cells. Similar patterns of F-actin and vinculin organization were observed between DIAS cells and chondrocytes. Three-dimensional constructs from chondroinduced DIAS cells produced greater amounts of cartilage matrix than constructs from the rest of the dermis populations. Conclusion. These findings show a series of steps that work together to form tissue-engineered articular cartilage constructs using DIAS cells. Since skin presents a minimally invasive, relatively abundant cell source for tissue engineering, this study offers evidence of an efficient and stable technique to form cartilage constructs for future cartilage regeneration with autologous cells from skin.
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