Transplantation of cultured chondrocytes can regenerate cartilage tissues in cartilage defects in humans. However, this method requires a long culture period to expand chondrocytes to a large number of cells for transplantation. In addition, chondrocytes may dedifferentiate during long-term culture. These problems can potentially be overcome by the use of undifferentiated or partially developed cartilage precursor cells derived from neonatal cartilage, which, unlike chondrocytes from adult cartilage, have the capacity for rapid in vitro cell expansion and may retain their differentiated phenotype during long-term culture. The purpose of this study was to compare the cell growth rate and phenotypic modulation during in vitro culture between adult chondrocytes and neonatal chondrocytes, and to demonstrate the feasibility of regenerating cartilage tissues in vivo by transplantation of neonatal chondrocytes expanded in vitro and seeded onto polymer scaffolds. When cultured in vitro, chondrocytes isolated from neonatal (immediately postpartum, 2 h of age) rats exhibited much higher growth rate than chondrocytes isolated from adult rats. After 5 days of culture, more neonatal chondrocytes were in the differentiated state than adult chondrocytes. Cultured neonatal chondrocytes were seeded onto biodegradable polymer scaffolds and transplanted into athymic mice's subcutaneous sites. Four weeks after implantation, neonatal chondrocyte-seeded scaffolds formed white cartilaginous tissues. Histological analysis of the implants with hematoxylin and eosin showed mature and well-formed cartilage. Alcian blue/safranin-O staining and Masson's trichrome staining indicated the presence of highly sulfated glycosaminoglycans and collagen, respectively, both of which are the major extracellular matrices of cartilage. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the collagen was mainly type II, the major collagen type in cartilage. These results showed that neonatal chondrocytes have potential to be a cell source for cartilage tissue engineering.
|Number of pages
|Journal of microbiology and biotechnology
|Published - 2005 Apr
- Neonatal chondrocyte
- Tissue engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology