Research in tissue engineering has been focused on articular cartilage repair for more than a decade. Some pioneristic studies involved the use of hydrogels such as alginate and fibrin glue which still possess valuable potential for cartilage regeneration. One of the main issues in cartilage tissue engineering is represented by the ideal maturation of the construct, before in vivo implantation, in order to optimize matrix quality and integration. The present study was focused on the effect of in vitro culture on a fibrin glue hydrogel embedding swine chondrocytes. We performed an evaluation of the immunohistochemical and biochemical composition and of the biomechanical properties of the construct after 1 and 5 weeks of culture. We noticed that chondrocytes survived in the fibrin glue gel and enhanced their synthetic activity. In fact, DNA content remained stable, while all indices of cartilage matrix production increased (GAGs content, immunohistochemistry for collagen II and safranin-o staining). On the other hand, the biomechanical properties remained steady, indicating a gradual substitution of the hydrogel scaffold by cartilaginous matrix. This demonstrates that an optimal preculture could provide the surgeon with a better engineered cartilage for implantation. However, whether this more mature tissue will result in a more efficient regeneration of the articular surface still has to be evaluated in future investigations.
- Articular cartilage
- Fibrin glue
- Tissue engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine