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. 2003 Dec;9(6):1215-26.
doi: 10.1089/10763270360728125.

Chondrogenesis of Aged Human Articular Cartilage in a Scaffold-Free Bioreactor

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Chondrogenesis of Aged Human Articular Cartilage in a Scaffold-Free Bioreactor

Stefan Marlovits et al. Tissue Eng. .

Abstract

Chondrogenesis of aged human articular chondrocytes was evaluated under controlled in vitro conditions, using a rotating bioreactor vessel. Articular chondrocytes isolated from 10 aged patients (median age, 84 years) were increased in monolayer culture. A single-cell suspension of dedifferentiated chondrocytes was inoculated in a rotating wall vessel, without the use of any scaffold or supporting gel material. After 90 days of cultivation, a three-dimensional cartilage-like tissue was formed, encapsulated by fibrous tissue resembling a perichondrial membrane. Morphological examination revealed differentiated chondrocytes ordered in clusters within a continuous dense cartilaginous matrix demonstrating a strong positive staining with monoclonal antibodies against collagen type II and articular proteoglycan. The surrounding fibrous membrane consisted of fibroblast-like cells, and showed a clear distinction from the cartilaginous areas when stained against collagen type I. Transmission electron microscopy revealed differentiated and highly metabolically active chondrocytes, producing an extracellular matrix consisting of a fine network of randomly distributed cross-banded collagen fibrils. Chondrogenesis of aged human articular chondrocytes can be induced in vitro in a rotating bioreactor vessel using low shear and efficient mass transfer. Moreover, the tissue-engineered constructs may be used for further in vitro studies of differentiation, aging, and regeneration of human articular cartilage.

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