Development of novel three-dimensional printed scaffolds for osteochondral regeneration

Tissue Eng Part A. 2015 Jan;21(1-2):403-15. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2014.0138. Epub 2014 Sep 12.


As modern medicine advances, various methodologies are being explored and developed in order to treat severe osteochondral defects in joints. However, it is still very challenging to cure the osteochondral defects due to their poor inherent regenerative capacity, complex stratified architecture, and disparate biomechanical properties. The objective of this study is to create novel three-dimensional (3D) printed osteochondral scaffolds with both excellent interfacial mechanical properties and biocompatibility for facilitating human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) growth and chondrogenic differentiation. For this purpose, we designed and 3D printed a series of innovative bi-phasic 3D models that mimic the osteochondral region of articulate joints. Our mechanical testing results showed that our bi-phasic scaffolds with key structures have enhanced mechanical characteristics in compression (a maximum Young's modulus of 31 MPa) and shear (a maximum fracture strength of 5768 N/mm(2)) when compared with homogenous designs. These results are also correlated with numerical simulation. In order to improve their biocompatibility, the scaffolds' surfaces were further modified with acetylated collagen (one of the main components in osteochondral extracellular matrix). MSC proliferation results demonstrated that incorporation of a collagen, along with biomimetically designed micro-features, can greatly enhance MSC growth after 5 days in vitro. Two weeks' chondrogenic differentiation results showed that our novel scaffolds (dubbed "key" scaffolds), both with and without surface collagen modification, displayed enhanced chondrogenesis (e.g., 130%, 114%, and 236% increases in glycosaminoglycan, type II collagen deposition, and total protein content on collagen-modified key scaffolds when compared with homogeneous controls).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chondrogenesis*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Compressive Strength
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells
  • Osteogenesis*
  • Porosity
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Shear Strength
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Collagen