The potential utility of hybrid photo-crosslinked hydrogels with non-immunogenic component for cartilage repair

NPJ Regen Med. 2021 Sep 10;6(1):54. doi: 10.1038/s41536-021-00166-8.


Finding a suitable biomaterial for scaffolding in cartilage tissue engineering has proved to be far from trivial. Nonetheless, it is clear that biomimetic approaches based on gelatin (Gel) and hyaluronic acid (HA) have particular promise. Herein, a set of formulations consisting of photo-polymerizable Gel; photo-polymerizable HA, and allogenic decellularized cartilage matrix (DCM), is synthesized and characterized. The novelty of this study lies particularly in the choice of DCM, which was harvested from an abnormal porcine with α-1,3-galactose gene knockout. The hybrid hydrogels were prepared and studied extensively, by spectroscopic methods, for their capacity to imbibe water, for their behavior under compression, and to characterize microstructure. Subsequently, the effects of the hydrogels on contacting cells (in vitro) were studied, i.e., cytotoxicity, morphology, and differentiation through monitoring the specific markers ACAN, Sox9, Coll2, and Col2α1, hypertrophy through monitoring the specific markers alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and Col 10A1. In vivo performance of the hydrogels was assessed in a rat knee cartilage defect model. The new data expand our understanding of hydrogels built of Gel and HA, since they reveal that a significant augmenting role can be played by DCM. The data strongly suggest that further experimentation in larger cartilage-defect animal models is worthwhile and has potential utility for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

PMID:34508081 | DOI:10.1038/s41536-021-00166-8


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