Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2015.0546; PMCID: PMC4840832


Hydrogel precursors are liquid solutions that are prone to leaking after surgical placement. This problem was overcome by incorporating either decellularized cartilage (DCC) or devitalized cartilage (DVC) microparticles into traditional photocrosslinkable hydrogel precursors in an effort to achieve a paste-like hydrogel precursor. DCC and DVC were selected specifically for their potential to induce chondrogenesis of stem cells, given that materials that are chondroinductive on their own without growth factors are a revolutionary goal in orthopedic medicine. We hypothesized that DVC, lacking the additional chemical processing steps in DCC to remove cell content, would lead to a more chondroinductive hydrogel with rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Hydrogels composed of methacrylated hyaluronic acid (MeHA) and either DCC or DVC microparticles were tested with and without exposure to transforming growth factor (TGF)-β3 over a 6 week culture period, where swelling, mechanical analysis, and gene expression were observed. For collagen II, Sox-9, and aggrecan expression, MeHA precursors containing DVC consistently outperformed the DCC-containing groups, even when the DCC groups were exposed to TGF-β3. DVC consistently outperformed all TGF-β3-exposed groups in aggrecan and collagen II gene expression as well. In addition, when the same concentrations of MeHA with DCC or DVC microparticles were evaluated for yield stress, the yield stress with the DVC microparticles was 2.7 times greater. Furthermore, the only MeHA-containing group that exhibited shape retention was the group containing DVC microparticles. DVC appeared to be superior to DCC in both chondroinductivity and rheological performance of hydrogel precursors, and therefore DVC microparticles may hold translational potential for cartilage regeneration.

Journal Title

Tissue Eng Part A





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MeSH Keywords

Animals; Cartilage, Articular; Chondrogenesis; Cross-Linking Reagents; Elastic Modulus; Extracellular Matrix; Gene Expression Regulation; Hyaluronic Acid; Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate; Male; Materials Testing; Methacrylates; Ointments; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; Rheology; Swine


Swine; Gene Expression Regulation; Cartilage

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Surgery Commons