Cell migration has a central role in osteochondral defect repair initiation and biomaterial-mediated regeneration. New advancements to reestablish tissue function include biomaterials and factors promoting cell recruitment, differentiation and tissue integration, but little is known about responses to mechanical stimuli. In the present pilot study, we tested the influence of extrinsic forces in combination with biomaterials releasing chemoattractant signals on cell migration. We used an ex vivo mechanically stimulated osteochondral defect explant filled with fibrin/hyaluronan hydrogel, in presence or absence of platelet-derived growth factor-BB or stromal cell-derived factor 1, to assess endogenous cell recruitment into the wound site. Periodic mechanical stress at early time point negatively influenced cell infiltration compared to unloaded samples, and the implementation of chemokines to increase cell migration was not efficient to overcome this negative effect. The gene expression at 15 days of culture indicated a marked downregulation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)13 and MMP3, a decrease of β1 integrin and increased mRNA levels of actin in osteochondral samples exposed to complex load. This work using an ex vivo osteochondral mechanically stimulated advanced platform demonstrated that recurrent mechanical stress at early time points impeded cell migration into the hydrogel, providing a unique opportunity to improve our understanding on management of joint injury.
Keywords: biomaterial; cartilage; endogenous cell recruitment; hydrogel; mechanical loading; osteochondral.