In developing a scaffold to support new tissue growth, the degradation rate and mass loss profiles of the scaffold are important design parameters. In this study, hydrogels were prepared by copolymerizing a degradable macromer, poly(lactic acid)-b-poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(lactic acid) endcapped with acrylate groups (PEG-LA-DA) with a nondegradable macromer, poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDM). The resulting hydrogels exhibited a range of degradation behavior and mass loss profiles. Chondrocytes were photoencapsulated in gels formulated with 50:50, 25:75, and 15:85 (mol % PEGDM: mol % PEG-LA-DA) and cultured for 6 weeks in vitro. The neocartilaginous tissue formed was examined biochemically and histologically. After 6 weeks, the DNA content in gels with 75 and 85% degradable crosslinks was nearly twice that of the DNA content in the 50% gels. The total collagen content was significantly higher in the 85% gel [2.4 +/- 0.8% wet weight (ww)] compared to the 50% gel (0.22 +/- 0.29% ww). In examining the neocartilaginous tissue with immunohistochemistry, type II collagen was localized in the pericellular region in the 50% gel; however, when increased degradation was incorporated into the gel, type II collagen was found throughout the neotissue. In summary, the important role of hydrogel degradation in controlling and influencing the deposition and distribution of extracellular matrix molecules was demonstrated and quantified.