A cartilage ECM-derived 3-D porous acellular matrix scaffold for in vivo cartilage tissue engineering with PKH26-labeled chondrogenic bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Biomaterials. 2008 May;29(15):2378-87. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.01.037. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


We developed a natural, acellular, 3-D interconnected porous scaffold derived from cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM). Human cartilage was physically shattered, then decellularized sequentially with use of hypotonic buffer, TritonX-100, and a nuclease solution and made into a suspension. The scaffold was fabricated by simple freeze-drying and cross-linking techniques. On histology, scaffolds showed most of the ECM components after removal of the cell fragments, and scanning electron microscopy revealed a 3-D interconnected porous structure. Cellular viability assay revealed no cytotoxic effects. In vitro study showed that the novel scaffold could provide a suitable 3-D environment to support the adheration, proliferation and differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) to chondrocytes in culture with chondrogenic medium after 21 days. Chondrogenically induced BMSCs labeled with fluorescent dye PKH26 were then grown on scaffolds and implanted subcutaneously into nude mice. Four weeks later, cartilage-like tissue formed, with positive staining for Safranin O, tuoluidine blue and collagen II. Cells in the samples seemed to confirm that they originated from the labeled BMSCs, as confirmed by in vivo fluorescent imaging and immunofluorescence examination. In conclusion, the cartilage ECM-derived porous scaffold shows potential as biomaterial for cartilage tissue engineering, and PKH26 fluorescent labeling and in vivo fluorescent imaging can be useful for cell tracking and analyzing cell-scaffold constructs in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / chemistry
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cartilage / chemistry
  • Cartilage / cytology*
  • Cartilage / growth & development
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Survival
  • Chondrocytes / chemistry
  • Chondrocytes / cytology*
  • Chondrocytes / transplantation
  • Collagen Type II / analysis
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Dogs
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry*
  • Extracellular Matrix / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Glycosaminoglycans / analysis
  • Glycosaminoglycans / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / chemistry
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Phenazines / chemistry
  • Porosity
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Collagen Type II
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Organic Chemicals
  • PKH 26
  • Phenazines
  • safranine T