Chondrocyte redifferentiation and construct mechanical property development in single-component photocrosslinkable hydrogels.

P.A. Levett, F.P.W. Melchels, K. Schrobback, D.W. Hutmacher, J. Malda, T.J. Klein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Hydrogels are promising materials for cartilage
    repair, but the properties required for optimal functional outcomes
    are not yet known. In this study, we functionalized
    four materials that are commonly used in cartilage tissue
    engineering and evaluated them using in vitro cultures. Gelatin,
    hyaluronic acid, polyethylene glycol, and alginate were
    functionalized with methacrylic anhydride to make them photocrosslinkable.
    We found that the responses of encapsulated
    human chondrocytes were highly dependent on hydrogel
    type. Gelatin hydrogels supported cell proliferation and the
    deposition of a glycosaminoglycan rich matrix with significant
    mechanical functionality. However, cells had a dedifferentiated
    phenotype, with high expression of collagen type I.
    Chondrocytes showed the best redifferentiation in hyaluronic
    acid hydrogels, but the newly formed matrix was highly
    localized to the pericellular regions, and these gels degraded
    rapidly. Polyethylene glycol hydrogels, as a bioinert control,
    did not promote any strong responses. Alginate hydrogels
    did not support the deposition of new matrix, and the stiffness
    decreased during culture. The markedly different
    response of chondrocytes to these four photocrosslinkable
    hydrogels demonstrates the importance of material properties
    for chondrogenesis and extracellular matrix production,
    which are critical for effective cartilage repair.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2544-2553
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research. Part A.
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • cartilage
    • hydrogels
    • photopolymerization
    • chondrogenesis
    • tissue engineering


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