Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of matrices for cartilage tissue engineering

Toxicol Lett. 2009 Oct 28;190(2):128-33. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.06.880. Epub 2009 Jul 17.


Customizing auricles with biodegradable polyurethane colonized with autologous chondrocytes as an approach for tissue engineering cartilage transplants has been suggested for the reconstruction of the external ear to repair auricular deformities. Dextrose, triethanolamine and poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(propylene glycol)-block-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-PPG-PEG) are matrices of an open-pored polyurethane three-dimensional scaffold. After release from the polymer, these compounds can be absorbed into the human organism. Therefore, cytotoxic effects on human chondrocytes and lymphocytes and genotoxic effects on human lymphocytes were determined. Propidium iodide and fluoresceine diacetate staining as well as quantitative proliferations testing with EZ4U served to detect cytotoxic effects on chondrocytes. In lymphocytes cytotoxicity was checked by trypan blue staining and the alkaline single cell microgel electrophoresis (Comet) assay was used to study genotoxic effects. Dose-dependent cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of the matrices could be shown. Concentrations up to 4.25mg/ml for dextrose, 0.15 mg/ml for PEG-PPG-PEG and 0.9 mg/ml for triethanolamine did not show cytotoxic effects in chondrocytes or genotoxic effects in lymphocytes. These data suggest that dextrose, triethanolamine and PEG-PPG-PEG could be safely used if scaffolds made of open-pored polyurethane do not release these compounds at a rate giving higher concentrations at the site of implantation or in body fluids, respectively.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cartilage / growth & development*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects
  • Comet Assay
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanolamines / toxicity
  • Female
  • Glucose / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / toxicity
  • Propylene Glycols / toxicity
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Ethanolamines
  • Mutagens
  • Propylene Glycols
  • poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(propylene glycol)-block-poly(ethylene glycol) copolymer
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • triethanolamine
  • Glucose