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Hydrogels of agarose, and methacrylated gelatin and hyaluronic acid are more supportive for in vitro meniscus regeneration than three dimensional printed polycaprolactone scaffolds

Bahcecioglu, Gokhan
Hasırcı, Nesrin
Bilgen, Bahar
Hasırcı, Vasıf Nejat
In this study, porcine fibrochondrocyte-seeded agarose, methacrylated gelatin (GelMA), methacrylated hyaluronic acid (MeHA) and GelMA-MeHA blend hydrogels, and 3D printed PCL scaffolds were tested under dynamic compression for potential meniscal regeneration in vitro. Cell-carrying hydrogels produced higher levels of extracellular matrix (ECM) components after a 35-day incubation than the 3D printed PCL Cells on GelMA exhibited strong cell adhesion (evidenced with intense paxillin staining) and dendritic cell morphology, and produced an order of magnitude higher level of collagen (p < 0.05) than other materials. On the other hand, cells in agarose exhibited low cell adhesion and round cell morphology, and produced higher levels of glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) (p < 0.05) than other materials. A low level of ECM production and a high level of cell proliferation were observed on the 3D printed PCL. Dynamic compression at 10% strain enhanced GAG production in agarose (p < 0.05), and collagen production in GelMA. These results show that hydrogels have a higher potential for meniscal regeneration than the 3D printed PCL, and depending on the material used, fibrochondrocytes could be directed to proliferate or produce cartilaginous or fibrocartilaginous ECM. Agarose and MeHA could be used for the regeneration of the inner region of meniscus, while GelMA for the outer region.