The release of an anti-angiogenic agent, such as type XVIII/endostatin, from an implantable scaffold may be of benefit in the repair of articular cartilage. The objectives of this study are to develop an injectable mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-incorporating collagen-based hydrogel capable of undergoing covalent cross-linking in vivo and overexpressing endostatin using nonviral transfection, and to investigate methods for the retention of the endostatin protein within the scaffolds. The effects of different cross-linking agents (genipin, transglutaminase-2, and microbial transglutaminase) and different binding molecules for endostatin retention (heparin, heparan sulfate, and chondroitin sulfate) are evaluated. Cartilaginous constructs that overexpress endostatin for 3 weeks are successfully engineered. Most of the endostatin is released into the surrounding media and is not retained within the constructs. The presence of two common basement membrane molecules, laminin and type IV collagen, which have been reported in developing and mature articular cartilage and are generally associated with type XVIII collagen in vivo, is also observed in the engineered cartilaginous constructs. Endostatin-producing cartilaginous constructs can be formulated by growing nonvirally transfected mesenchymal stem cells in collagen gels covalently cross-linked using genipin, transglutaminase-2, and microbial transglutaminase. These constructs warrant further investigation for cartilage repair procedures. The novel finding of laminin and type IV collagen in the engineered cartilage constructs may be of importance for future work toward understanding the role of basement membrane molecules in chondrogenesis and in the physiology and pathology of articular cartilage.
Copyright © 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.