Bovine calf articular chondrocytes, either primary or expanded in monolayers (2D) with or without 5 ng/ml fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), were cultured on three-dimensional (3D) biodegradable polyglycolic acid (PGA) scaffolds with or without 10 ng/ml bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2). Chondrocytes expanded without FGF-2 exhibited high intensity immunostaining for smooth muscle alpha-actin (SMA) and collagen type I and induced shrinkage of the PGA scaffold, thus resembling contractile fibroblasts. Chondrocytes expanded in the presence of FGF-2 and cultured 6 weeks on PGA scaffolds yielded engineered cartilage with 3.7-fold higher cell number, 4.2-fold higher wet weight, and 2.8-fold higher wet weight glycosaminoglycan (GAG) fraction than chondrocytes expanded without FGF-2. Chondrocytes expanded with FGF-2 and cultured on PGA scaffolds in the presence of BMP-2 for 6 weeks yielded engineered cartilage with similar cellularity and size, 1.5-fold higher wet weight GAG fraction, and more homogenous GAG distribution than the corresponding engineered cartilage cultured without BMP-2. The presence of BMP-2 during 3D culture had no apparent effect on primary chondrocytes or those expanded without FGF-2. In summary, the presence of FGF-2 during 2D expansion reduced chondrocyte expression of fibroblastic molecules and induced responsiveness to BMP-2 during 3D cultivation on PGA scaffolds.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.