Author(s): Awad HA
The differentiation and growth of adult stem cells within engineered tissue constructs are hypothesized to be influenced by cell-biomaterial interactions. In this study, we compared the chondrogenic differentiation of human adipose-derived adult stem (hADAS) cells seeded in alginate and agarose hydrogels, and porous gelatin scaffolds (Surgifoam), as well as the functional properties of tissue engineered cartilage constructs. Chondrogenic media containing transforming growth factor beta 1 significantly increased the rates of protein and proteoglycan synthesis as well as the content of DNA, sulfated glycosaminoglycans, and hydroxyproline of engineered constructs as compared to control conditions. Furthermore, chondrogenic culture conditions resulted in 86%, and 160% increases ( p < 0.05 ) in the equilibrium compressive and shear moduli of the gelatin scaffolds, although they did not affect the mechanical properties of the hydrogels over 28 days in culture. Cells encapsulated in the hydrogels exhibited a spherical cellular morphology, while cells in the gelatin scaffolds showed a more polygonal shape; however, this difference did not appear to hinder the chondrogenic differentiation of the cells. Furthermore, the equilibrium compressive and shear moduli of the gelatin scaffolds were comparable to agarose by day 28. Our results also indicated that increases in the shear moduli were significantly associated with increases in S-GAG content ( R2 = 0.36, p < 0.05 ) and with the interaction between S-GAG and hydroxyproline ( R2 = 0.34, p < 0.05 ). The findings of this study suggest that various biomaterials support the chondrogenic differentiation of hADAS cells, and that manipulating the composition of these tissue engineered constructs may have significant effects on their mechanical properties.