Temporal assessment of ribose treatment on self-assembled articular cartilage constructs

Sriram V. Eleswarapu, Justin A. Chen, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Articular cartilage cannot repair itself in response to degradation from injury or osteoarthritis. As such, there is a substantial clinical need for replacements of damaged cartilage. Tissue engineering aims to fulfill this need by developing replacement tissues in vitro. A major goal of cartilage tissue engineering is to produce tissues with robust biochemical and biomechanical properties. One technique that has been proposed to improve these properties in engineered tissue is the use of non-enzymatic glycation to induce collagen crosslinking, an attractive solution that may avoid the risks of cytotoxicity posed by conventional crosslinking agents such as glutaraldehyde. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine whether continuous application of ribose would enhance biochemical and biomechanical properties of self-assembled articular cartilage constructs, and (2) to identify an optimal time window for continuous ribose treatment. Self-assembled constructs were grown for 4. weeks using a previously established method and were subjected to continuous 7-day treatment with 30. mM ribose during culture weeks 1, 2, 3, or 4, or for the entire 4-week culture. Control constructs were grown in parallel, and all groups were evaluated for gross morphology, histology, cellularity, collagen and sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content, and compressive and tensile mechanical properties. Compared to control constructs, it was found that treatment with ribose during week 2 and for the entire duration of culture resulted in significant 62% and 40% increases in compressive stiffness, respectively; significant 66% and 44% increases in tensile stiffness; and significant 50% and 126% increases in tensile strength. Similar statistically significant trends were observed for collagen and GAG. In contrast, constructs treated with ribose during week 1 had poorer biochemical and biomechanical properties, although they were significantly larger and more cellular than all other groups. We conclude that non-enzymatic glycation with ribose is an effective method for improving tissue engineered cartilage and that specific temporal intervention windows exist to achieve optimal functional properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 22 2011


  • Articular cartilage
  • Biomechanics
  • Crosslinking
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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