Integration of engineered musculoskeletal tissues with adjacent native tissues presents a significant challenge to the field. Specifically, the avascularity and low cellularity of cartilage elicit the need for additional efforts in improving integration of neocartilage within native cartilage. Self-assembled neocartilage holds significant potential in replacing degenerated cartilage, though its stabilization and integration in native cartilage require further efforts. Physical and enzymatic stabilization methodswere investigated in an in vitro model for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc degeneration. First, in phase 1, suture, glue and press-fit constructs were compared in TMJ disc intermediate zone defects. In phase 1, suturing enhanced interfacial shear stiffness and strength immediately; after four weeks, a 15-fold increase in stiffness and a ninefold increase in strength persisted over press-fit. Neither suture nor glue significantly altered neocartilage properties. In phase 2, the effects of the enzymatic stabilization regimen composed of lysyl oxidase, CuSO4 and hydroxylysine were investigated. A full factorial design was employed, carrying forward the best physical method from phase 1, suturing. Enzymatic stabilization significantly increased interfacial shear stiffness after eight weeks. Combined enzymatic stabilization and suturing led to a fourfold increase in shear stiffness and threefold increase in strength over press-fit. Histological analysis confirmed the presence of a collagen-rich interface. Enzymatic treatment additionally enhanced neocartilage mechanical properties, yielding a tensile modulus over 6 MPa and compressive instantaneous modulus over 1200 kPa at eight weeks. Suturing enhances stabilization of neocartilage, and enzymatic treatment enhances functional properties and integration of neocartilage in the TMJ disc. Methods developed here are applicable to other orthopaedic soft tissues, including knee meniscus and hyaline articular cartilage.
- Lysyl oxidase
- Temporomandibular joint disc perforation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering