The use of autologous chondrocytes seeded onto a biological scaffold represents a current valid tool for cartilage repair. However, the effect of the contact of blood to the engineered construct is unknown. The aim of this work was to investigate in vitro the effect of blood on the morphological, biochemical and biomechanical properties of engineered cartilage. Articular chondrocytes were enzymatically isolated from swine joints, expanded in monolayer culture and seeded onto collagen membranes for 2 weeks. Then, the seeded membranes were placed for 3 days in contact with peripheral blood, which was obtained from animals of the same species and diluted with a standard medium. As controls, some samples were left in the standard medium. After the 3 days' contact, some samples were retrieved for analysis; others were returned to standard culture conditions for 21 additional days, in order to investigate the "long-term effect" of the blood contact. Upon retrieval, all seeded samples showed increasing sizes and weights over time. However, the samples exposed to blood presented lower values with respect to the controls. Biochemical evaluation demonstrated a reduction in the mitochondrial activity due to blood contact at the early culture time (3 days post blood contact), followed by a partial recovery at the longer culture time (21 days post blood contact). Histological evaluation demonstrated evident cartilage-like matrix production for both groups. Biomechanical data showed a reduction of the values, followed by stabilization, regardless of the presence of blood. Based on the data obtained in this study, we can conclude that blood contact affects the chondrocyte activity and determines a delay in the dimensional growth of the engineered cartilage; however, at the experimental times utilized in this study, this delay did not affect the histological pattern and the biomechanical properties of the construct.
- Articular cartilage
- Biomechanical test
- Tissue engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation