Wear Behavior Characterization of Hydrogels Constructs for Cartilage Tissue Replacement

Saverio Affatato, Diego Trucco, Paola Taddei, Lorenzo Vannozzi, Leonardo Ricotti, Gilbert Daniel Nessim, Gina Lisignoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to characterize the wear behavior of hydrogel constructs designed for human articular cartilage replacement. To this purpose, poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) 10% w/v and gellan gum (GG) 1.5% w/v were used to reproduce the superior (SUP) cartilage layer and PEGDA 15% w/v and GG 1.5% w/v were used to reproduce the deep (DEEP) cartilage layer, with or without graphene oxide (GO). These materials (SUP and DEEP) were analyzed alone and in combination to mimic the zonal architecture of human articular cartilage. The developed constructs were tested using a four-station displacement control knee joint simulator under bovine calf serum. Roughness and micro-computer tomography (µ-CT) measurements evidenced that the hydrogels with 10% w/v of PEGDA showed a worse behavior both in terms of roughness increase and loss of uniformly distributed density than 15% w/v of PEGDA. The simultaneous presence of GO and 15% w/v PEGDA contributed to keeping the hydrogel construct's characteristics. The Raman spectra of the control samples showed the presence of unreacted C=C bonds in all the hydrogels. The degree of crosslinking increased along the series SUP < DEEP + SUP < DEEP without GO. The Raman spectra of the tested hydrogels showed the loss of diacrylate groups in all the samples, due to the washout of unreacted PEGDA in bovine calf serum aqueous environment. The loss decreased along the series SUP > DEEP + SUP > DEEP, further confirming that the degree of photo-crosslinking of the starting materials plays a key role in determining their wear behavior. μ-CT and Raman spectroscopy proved to be suitable techniques to characterize the structure and composition of hydrogels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 16 2021


  • Raman spectroscopy
  • articular cartilage
  • hydrogel
  • knee arthroplasty
  • knee simulator
  • micro-CT
  • roughness measurements


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