Characterization of polydactyly chondrocytes and their use in cartilage engineering

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 12;9(1):4275. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40575-w.


Treating cartilage injuries and degenerations represents an open surgical challenge. The recent advances in cell therapies have raised the need for a potent off-the-shelf cell source. Intra-articular injections of TGF-β transduced polydactyly chondrocytes have been proposed as a chronic osteoarthritis treatment but despite promising results, the use of gene therapy still raises safety concerns. In this study, we characterized infant, polydactyly chondrocytes during in vitro expansion and chondrogenic re-differentiation. Polydactyly chondrocytes have a steady proliferative rate and re-differentiate in 3D pellet culture after up to five passages. Additionally, we demonstrated that polydactyly chondrocytes produce cartilage-like matrix in a hyaluronan-based hydrogel, namely transglutaminase cross-linked hyaluronic acid (HA-TG). We utilized the versatility of TG cross-linking to augment the hydrogels with heparin moieties. The heparin chains allowed us to load the scaffolds with TGF-β1, which induced cartilage-like matrix deposition both in vitro and in vivo in a subcutaneous mouse model. This strategy introduces the possibility to use infant, polydactyly chondrocytes for the clinical treatment of joint diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology*
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / cytology*
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism*
  • Collagen / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Infant
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mice, Nude
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Hydrogels
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Collagen