Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres as a moldable scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering

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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Cell Biology

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Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


This study demonstrates the use of biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) microspheres as a moldable scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering. Chondrocytes were delivered to a cylindrical mold with or without PLG microspheres and cultured in vitro for up to 8 weeks. Cartilagenous tissue formed using chondrocytes and microspheres maintained thickness, shape, and chondrocyte collagen type II phenotype, as indicated by type II collagen staining. The presence of microspheres further enhanced total tissue mass and the amount of glycosaminoglycan that accumulated. Evaluation of microsphere composition demonstrated effects of polymer molecular weight, end group chemistry, and buffer inclusion on tissue-engineered cartilage growth. Higher molecular weight PLG resulted in a larger mass of cartilage-like tissue formed and a higher content of proteoglycans. Cartilage-like tissue formed using microspheres made from low molecular weight and free carboxylic acid end groups did not display increases in tissue mass, yet a modest increased proteoglycan accumulation was detected. Microspheres comprised of PLG with methyl ester end groups yielded a steady increase in tissue mass, with no real increase in matrix accumulation. The microencapsulation of Mg(OH)(2) had negative effects on tissue mass and matrix accumulation. The data herein reflect the potential utility of a moldable PLG-chondrocyte system for tissue-engineering applications.

DOI of Published Version



Biomaterials. 2005 May;26(14):1945-52. Link to article on publisher's site

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