Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the load-bearing joints, greatly reduces quality of life for millions of Americans and places a tremendous cost on the American healthcare system. Due to limitations of current treatments, tissue engineering of articular cartilage may provide a promising therapeutic option to treat cartilage defects. However, cartilage tissue engineering has yet to recapitulate the functional properties of native tissue. During normal joint loading, cartilage tissue experiences variations in osmolarity and subsequent changes in ionic concentrations. Motivated by these known variations in the cellular microenvironment, this study sought to improve the mechanical properties of neocartilage constructs via the application of hyperosmolarity and transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channel activator 4α-phorbol 12,13-didecanoate (4αPDD). It was shown that 4αPDD elicited significant increases in compressive properties. Importantly, when combined, 4αPDD positively interacted with hyperosmolarity to modulate its effects on tensile stiffness and collagen content. Thus, this study supports 4αPDD-activated channel TRPV4 as a purported mechanosensor and osmosensor that can facilitate the cell and tissue level responses to improve the mechanical properties of engineered cartilage. To our knowledge, this study is the first to systematically evaluate the roles of hyperosmolarity and 4αPDD on the functional (i.e., mechanical and biochemical) properties of self-assembled neotissue. Future work may combine 4αPDD-induced channel activation with other chemical and mechanical stimuli to create robust neocartilages suitable for treatment of articular cartilage defects.
- Cartilage tissue engineering
- Dynamic loading
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering