skip to main content

Title: Biomimetic multidirectional scaffolds for zonal osteochondral tissue engineering via a lyophilization bonding approach

The zonal organization of osteochondral tissue underlies its long term function. Despite this, tissue engineering strategies targeted for osteochondral repair commonly rely on the use of isotropic biomaterials for tissue reconstruction. There exists a need for a new class of highly biomimetic, anisotropic scaffolds that may allow for the engineering of new tissue with zonal properties. To address this need, we report the facile production of monolithic multidirectional collagen‐based scaffolds that recapitulate the zonal structure and composition of osteochondral tissue. First, superficial and osseous zone‐mimicking scaffolds were fabricated by unidirectional freeze casting collagen‐hyaluronic acid and collagen‐hydroxyapatite‐containing suspensions, respectively. Following their production, a lyophilization bonding process was used to conjoin these scaffolds with a distinct collagen‐hyaluronic acid suspension mimicking the composition of the transition zone. Resulting matrices contained a thin, highly aligned superficial zone that interfaced with a cellular transition zone and vertically oriented calcified cartilage and osseous zones. Confocal microscopy confirmed a zone‐specific localization of hyaluronic acid, reflecting the depth‐dependent increase of glycosaminoglycans in the native tissue. Poorly crystalline, carbonated hydroxyapatite was localized to the calcified cartilage and osseous zones and bordered the transition zone. Compressive testing of hydrated scaffold zones confirmed an increase of stiffness with scaffold depth, where compressive moduli of chondral and osseous zones fell within or near ranges conducive for chondrogenesis or osteogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells. With the combination of these biomimetic architectural and compositional cues, these multidirectional scaffolds hold great promise for the engineering of zonal osteochondral tissue. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 106A: 948–958, 2018.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 948-958
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Cartilage is difficult to self‐repair and it is more challenging to repair an osteochondral defects concerning both cartilage and subchondral bone. Herein, it is hypothesized that a bilayered porous scaffold composed of a biomimetic gelatin hydrogel may, despite no external seeding cells, induce osteochondral regeneration in vivo after being implanted into mammal joints. This idea is confirmed based on the successful continuous 3D‐printing of the bilayered scaffolds combined with the sol‐gel transition of the aqueous solution of a gelatin derivative (physical gelation) and photocrosslinking of the gelatin methacryloyl (gelMA) macromonomers (chemical gelation). At the direct printing step, a nascent physical hydrogel is extruded, taking advantage of non‐Newtonian and thermoresponsive rheological properties of this 3D‐printing ink. In particular, a series of crosslinked gelMA (GelMA) and GelMA‐hydroxyapatite bilayered hydrogel scaffolds are fabricated to evaluate the influence of the spacing of 3D‐printed filaments on osteochondral regeneration in a rabbit model. The moderately spaced scaffolds output excellent regeneration of cartilage with cartilaginous lacunae and formation of subchondral bone. Thus, tricky rheological behaviors of soft matter can be employed to improve 3D‐printing, and the bilayered hybrid scaffold resulting from the continuous 3D‐printing is promising as a biomaterial to regenerate articular cartilage.

    more » « less
  2. Functional repair of osteochondral (OC) tissue remains challenging because the transition from bone to cartilage presents gradients in biochemical and physical properties necessary for joint function. Osteochondral regeneration requires strategies that restore the spatial composition and organization found in the native tissue. Several biomaterial approaches have been developed to guide chondrogenic and osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). These strategies can be combined with 3D printing, which has emerged as a useful tool to produce tunable, continuous scaffolds functionalized with bioactive cues. However, functionalization often includes one or more post-fabrication processing steps, which can lead to unwanted side effects and often produce biomaterials with homogeneously distributed chemistries. To address these challenges, surface functionalization can be achieved in a single step by solvent-cast 3D printing peptide-functionalized polymers. Peptide-poly(caprolactone) (PCL) conjugates were synthesized bearing hyaluronic acid (HA)-binding (HAbind–PCL) or mineralizing (E3–PCL) peptides, which have been shown to promote hMSC chondrogenesis or osteogenesis, respectively. This 3D printing strategy enables unprecedented control of surface peptide presentation and spatial organization within a continuous construct. Scaffolds presenting both cartilage-promoting and bone-promoting peptides had a synergistic effect that enhanced hMSC chondrogenic and osteogenic differentiation in the absence of differentiation factors compared to scaffolds without peptides or only one peptide. Furthermore, multi-peptide organization significantly influenced hMSC response. Scaffolds presenting HAbind and E3 peptides in discrete opposing zones promoted hMSC osteogenic behavior. In contrast, presenting both peptides homogeneously throughout the scaffolds drove hMSC differentiation towards a mixed population of articular and hypertrophic chondrocytes. These significant results indicated that hMSC behavior was driven by dual-peptide presentation and organization. The downstream potential of this platform is the ability to fabricate biomaterials with spatially controlled biochemical cues to guide functional tissue regeneration without the need for differentiation factors. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Osteoarthritis (OA) involves the degeneration of articular cartilage and subchondral bone. The capacity of articular cartilage to repair and regenerate is limited. A biodegradable, fibrous scaffold containing zinc oxide (ZnO) was fabricated and evaluated for osteochondral tissue engineering applications. ZnO has shown promise for a variety of biomedical applications but has had limited use in tissue engineering. Composite scaffolds consisted of ZnO nanoparticles embedded in slow degrading, polycaprolactone to allow for dissolution of zinc ions over time. Zinc has well‐known insulin‐mimetic properties and can be beneficial for cartilage and bone regeneration. Fibrous ZnO composite scaffolds, having varying concentrations of 1–10 wt.% ZnO, were fabricated using the electrospinning technique and evaluated for human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation along chondrocyte and osteoblast lineages. Slow release of the zinc was observed for all ZnO composite scaffolds. MSC chondrogenic differentiation was promoted on low percentage ZnO composite scaffolds as indicated by the highest collagen type II production and expression of cartilage‐specific genes, while osteogenic differentiation was promoted on high percentage ZnO composite scaffolds as indicated by the highest alkaline phosphatase activity, collagen production, and expression of bone‐specific genes. This study demonstrates the feasibility of ZnO‐containing composites as a potential scaffold for osteochondral tissue engineering.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Proper cell–material interactions are critical to remain cell function and thus successful tissue regeneration. Many fabrication processes have been developed to create microenvironments to control cell attachment and organization on a three‐dimensional (3D) scaffold. However, these approaches often involve heavy engineering and only the surface layer can be patterned. We found that 3D extrusion based printing at high temperature and pressure will result an aligned effect on the polymer molecules, and this molecular arrangement will further induce the cell alignment and different differentiation capacities. In particular, articular cartilage tissue is known to have zonal collagen fiber and cell orientation to support different functions, where collagen fibers and chondrocytes align parallel, randomly, and perpendicular, respectively, to the surface of the joint. Therefore, cell alignment was evaluated in a cartilage model in this study. We used small angle X‐ray scattering analysis to substantiate the polymer molecule alignment phenomenon. The cellular response was evaluated bothin vitroandin vivo. Seeded mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) showed different morphology and orientation on scaffolds, as a combined result of polymer molecule alignment and printed scaffold patterns. Gene expression results showed improved superficial zonal chondrogenic marker expression in parallel‐aligned group. The cell alignment was successfully maintained in the animal model after 7 days with distinct MSC morphology between the casted and parallel printed scaffolds. This 3D printing induced polymer and cell alignment will have a significant impact on developing scaffold with controlled cell–material interactions for complex tissue engineering while avoiding complicated surface treatment, and therefore provides new concept for effective tissue repairing in future clinical applications. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 106A: 2190‐2199, 2018.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The heterogeneous and anisotropic articular cartilage is generally studied as a layered structure of “zones” with unique composition and architecture, which is difficult to recapitulate using current approaches. A novel hybrid bioprinting strategy is presented here to generate zonally stratified cartilage. Scaffold‐free tissue strands (TSs) are made of human adipose‐derived stem cells (ADSCs) or predifferentiated ADSCs. Cartilage TSs with predifferentiated ADSCs exhibit improved mechanical properties and upregulated expression of cartilage‐specific markers at both transcription and protein levels as compared to TSs with ADSCs being differentiated in the form of strands and TSs of nontransfected ADSCs. Using the novel hybrid approach integrating new aspiration‐assisted and extrusion‐based bioprinting techniques, the bioprinting of zonally stratified cartilage with vertically aligned TSs at the bottom zone and horizontally aligned TSs at the superficial zone is demonstrated, in which collagen fibers are aligned with designated orientation in each zone imitating the anatomical regions and matrix orientation of native articular cartilage. In addition, mechanical testing study reveals a compression modulus of ≈1.1 MPa, which is similar to that of human articular cartilage. The prominent findings highlight the potential of this novel bioprinting approach for building biologically, mechanically, and histologically relevant cartilage for tissue engineering purposes.

    more » « less