Markus Wehland

Tissue Engineering of Cartilage Using a Random Positioning Machine

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  • Markus Wehland
  • Paul Steinwerth, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Ganna Aleshcheva, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Jayashree Sahana
  • Ruth Hemmersbach, Institute for Aerospace Medicine Cologne
  • ,
  • Ronald Lützenberg, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Sascha Kopp, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Clinic for Plastic
  • ,
  • Manfred Infanger, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Daniela Grimm

Articular cartilage is a skeletal tissue of avascular nature and limited self-repair capacity. Cartilage-degenerative diseases, such as osteoarthritis (OA), are difficult to treat and often necessitate joint replacement surgery. Cartilage is a tough but flexible material and relatively easy to damage. It is, therefore, of high interest to develop methods allowing chondrocytes to recolonize, to rebuild the cartilage and to restore joint functionality. Here we studied the in vitro production of cartilage-like tissue using human articular chondrocytes exposed to the Random Positioning Machine (RPM), a device to simulate certain aspects of microgravity on Earth. To screen early adoption reactions of chondrocytes exposed to the RPM, we performed quantitative real-time PCR analyses after 24 h on chondrocytes cultured in DMEM/F-12. A significant up-regulation in the gene expression of IL6, RUNX2, RUNX3, SPP1, SOX6, SOX9, and MMP13 was detected, while the levels of IL8, ACAN, PRG4, ITGB1, TGFB1, COL1A1, COL2A1, COL10A1, SOD3, SOX5, MMP1, and MMP2 mRNAs remained unchanged. The STRING (Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins) analysis demonstrated among others the importance of these differentially regulated genes for cartilage formation. Chondrocytes grown in DMEM/F-12 medium produced three-dimensional (3D) spheroids after five days without the addition of scaffolds. On day 28, the produced tissue constructs reached up to 2 mm in diameter. Using specific chondrocyte growth medium, similar results were achieved within 14 days. Spheroids from both types of culture media showed the typical cartilage morphology with aggrecan positivity. Intermediate filaments form clusters under RPM conditions as detected by vimentin staining after 7 d and 14 d. Larger meshes appear in the network in 28-day samples. Furthermore, they were able to form a confluent chondrocyte monolayer after being transferred back into cell culture flasks in 1 g conditions showing their suitability for transplantation into joints. Our results demonstrate that the cultivation medium has a direct influence on the velocity of tissue formation and tissue composition. The spheroids show properties that make them interesting candidates for cellular cartilage regeneration approaches in trauma and OA therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9596
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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