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Effect of a Three-Dimensional Chitosan Porous Scaffold on the Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Chondrocytes

Breyner N.M.a · Hell R.C.R.a · Carvalho L.R.P.a · Machado C.B.a · Peixoto Filho I.N.a · Valério P.a · Pereira M.M.b · Goes A.M.a
aBiochemistry and Immunology Department, Biological Sciences Institute, and bDepartment of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Brazil Cells Tissues Organs 2010;191:119–128 (DOI:10.1159/000231472)


Cartilage tissue has a poor capacity for self-repair, especially in the case of severe cartilage damage due to trauma or age-related degeneration. Cell-based tissue engineering using scaffolds has provided an option for the repair of cartilage tissue. The present work demonstrates that a three-dimensional (3D) chitosan scaffold increases the efficiency of the adhesion and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) after the addition of a chondrogenic medium. These culture conditions promoted MSC differentiation into chondrocytes during the first 9 weeks of monolayer or 3D culture in a scaffold composed of chitosan or chitosan/gelatin. The results demonstrated that a chitosan scaffold caused a reduction in alkaline phosphatase production and an increase in the collagen concentration indicating phenotypic changes in the cells. In support of these results, the production of collagen type II by the MSCs cultured in the chitosan scaffold increased after 3 weeks of culture, indicating the beginning of differentiation. However, the addition of gelatin to the chitosan scaffold did not improve on the results obtained with chitosan alone. These results suggest that this 3D chitosan scaffold is a promising candidate for biomaterial implants designed to promote MSC colonization and has applications in regenerative medicine.


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