Chondrocyte-seeded, photo-cross-linked hydrogels prepared from solutions containing 50% mass fractions of methacrylated glycol chitosan or methacrylated hyaluronic acid (MHA) with methacrylated chondroitin sulfate (MCS) are cultured in vitro under static conditions over 35 d to assess their suitability for load-bearing soft tissue repair. The photo-cross-linked hydrogels have initial equilibrium moduli between 100 and 300 kPa, but only the MHAMCS hydrogels retain an approximately constant modulus (264 ± 5 kPa) throughout the culture period. Visually, the seeded chondrocytes in the MHAMCS hydrogels are well distributed with an apparent constant viability in culture. Multicellular aggregates are surrounded by cartilaginous matrix, which contain aggrecan and collagen II. Thus, co-cross-linked MCS and MHA hydrogels may be suited for use in an articular cartilage or nucleus pulposus repair applications.
Keywords: cartilage; chondrocytes; methacrylate polysaccharides; nucleus pulposus; photoencapsulation.
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