Author(s): Case ND, Duty AO, Ratcliffe A, Mller R, Guldberg RE
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Abstract Interactions between bone and cartilage formation are critical during growth and fracture healing and may influence the functional integration of osteochondral repair constructs. In this study, the ability of tissue-engineered cartilage constructs to support bone formation under controlled mechanical loading conditions was evaluated using a lapine hydraulic bone chamber model. Articular chondrocytes were seeded onto polymer disks, cultured for 4 weeks in vitro, and then transferred to empty bone chambers previously implanted into rabbit femoral metaphyses. The effects of chondrocyte viability within the implanted constructs and in vivo mechanical loading on bone formation were tested in separate experiments. After 4 weeks in vivo, biopsies from the chambers consisted of a complex composite of bone, cartilage, and fibrous tissue, with bone forming in direct apposition to the cartilage constructs. Microcomputed tomography imaging of the chamber biopsies revealed that the implantation of viable constructs nearly doubled the bone volume fraction of the chamber tissue from 0.9 to 1.6\% as compared with the implantation of devitalized constructs in contralateral control chambers. The application of an intermittent cyclic mechanical load was found to increase the bone volume fraction of the chamber tissue from 0.4 to 3.6\% as compared with no-load control biopsies. The results of these experiments demonstrate that tissue-engineered cartilage constructs implanted into a well-vascularized bone defect will support direct appositional bone formation and that bone formation is significantly influenced by the viability of chondrocytes within the constructs and the local mechanical environment in vivo.
This article was published in Tissue Eng
and referenced in Journal of Bioengineering & Biomedical Science