Tissue Engineering of Canine Cartilage from Surgically Debrided Osteochondritis Dissecans Fragments

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Abstract

This study in dogs explored the feasibility of using cartilage fragments removed and discarded during routine palliative surgery for osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) as a source of primary chondrocytes for scaffold-free cartilage tissue-engineering. Primary chondrocytes were obtained from three OCD donors and one age-matched healthy articular cartilage (HAC) donor. After monolayer expansion of primary cells, a three-dimensional spherical suspension culture was implemented. Following this stage, cells were seeded at a high density into custom-made agarose molds that allowed for size and shape-specific constructs to be generated via a method of cellular self-assembling in a scaffold-free environment. Fifty-eight neocartilage constructs were tissue-engineered using this methodology. Neocartilage constructs and native cartilage from shoulder joint were subjected to histological, mechanical, and biochemical testing. OCD and HAC chondrocytes-sourced constructs had uniformly flat morphology and histology consistent with cartilage tissue. Constructs sourced from OCD chondrocytes were 1.5-times (32%) stiffer in compression and 1.3 times (23%) stronger in tension than constructs sourced from HAC chondrocytes and only 8.7-times (81%) less stiff in tension than native tissue. Constructs from both cell sources consistently had lower collagen content than native tissue (22.9%/dry weight [DW] for OCD and 4.1%/DW for HAC vs. 51.1%/DW native tissue). To improve the collagen content and mechanical properties of neocartilage, biological and mechanical stimuli, and thyroid hormone (tri-iodothyronine) were applied to the chondrocytes during the self-assembling stage in two separate studies. A 2.6-fold (62%) increase in compressive stiffness was detected with supplementation of biological stimuli alone and 5-fold (81%) increase with combined biological and mechanical stimuli at 20% strain. Application of thyroid hormone improved collagen content (1.7-times, 33%), tensile strength (1.8-times, 43%), and stiffness (1.3-times, 21%) of constructs, relative to untreated controls. Collectively, these data suggest that OCD chondrocytes can serve as a reliable cell source for cartilage tissue-engineering and that canine chondrocytes respond favorably to biological and mechanical stimuli that have been shown effective in chondrocytes from other animal species, including humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Arthritis
  • Bioengineering
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Scaffold-free tissue-engineering
  • Self-assembly
  • Thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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