Fabrication and cell affinity of biomimetic structured PLGA/articular cartilage ECM composite scaffold.
The utilization of 3D scaffolds and stem cells is a promising approach to solve the problem of bone and cartilage tissue shortage and to construct osteochondral (cartilage/bone composite) tissues. In this study, 3D highly porous nanofibrous (NF) poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) scaffolds fabricated using a phase separation technique were seeded with multi-potent human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and the constructs were induced along osteogenic and chondrogenic development routes in vitro. Histological analysis and calcium content quantification showed that NF scaffolds supported in vitro bone differentiation. SEM observation showed an altered shape for cells cultured on an NF matrix compared with those on smooth films. Consistent with the morphological change, the gene expression of early chondrogenic commitment marker Sox-9 was enhanced on the NF matrix. NF scaffolds were then used to support long-term in vitro 3D cartilaginous development. It was found that in the presence of TGF-beta1, cartilage tissue developed on PLLA NF scaffolds, with the cartilage-specific gene expressed, glycosaminoglycan and type II collagen accumulated, and typical cartilage morphology formed. These findings suggest that NF scaffolds can support both bone and cartilage development and are excellent candidate scaffolds for osteochondral defect repair.