To date, static culture for the tissue engineering of articular cartilage has shown to be inadequate in conferring functionality to constructs. Various forms of mechanical stimuli accompany articular cartilage development in vivo, and one of these is hydrostatic pressure. This study used histology, biochemistry, and biomechanics to examine the effects of intermittent hydrostatic pressure, applied at 10 MPa and 1 Hz for 4 h per day for 5 days per week for up to 8 weeks on self-assembled chondrocyte constructs. The self-assembling process is a novel approach that allows engineering of articular cartilage constructs without the use of exogenous scaffolds. The self-assembled constructs were found to be capable of enduring this loading regimen. Significant increases in collagen production were only observed in pressurized samples. Intermittent hydrostatic pressure prevented a significant decrease in total GAG, which was significant in controls. Aside from the beneficial effects intermittent hydrostatic pressure may have on ECM synthesis, its effects on mechanical properties may require longer culture periods to manifest. This study demonstrates the successful use of the self-assembling process to produce articular cartilage constructs. It also shows for the first time that long-term culture of tissue-engineered articular cartilage construct benefits from intermittent hydrostatic pressure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology