For tissue engineering of cartilage, chondrocytes can be seeded in a scaffold and stimulated to produce a cartilage-like matrix. In the present study, we investigated the effect of alginate as a chondrocyte-delivery substance for the construction of cartilage grafts. E210 (a non-woven fleece of polyglactin) was used as a scaffold. When bare' E210 (without alginate and without chondrocytes) was implanted subcutaneously in nude mice for 8 weeks. the explanted tissue consisted of fat and fibrous tissue only. When E210 with alginate but without chondrocytes was implanted in nude mice, small areas of newly formed cartilage were found. Alginate seems to stimulate chondrogenesis of ingrowing cells. When chondrocytes were seeded in E210, large amounts of cartilage were found, independent of the use of alginate. This was expressed by a high concentration of glycosaminoglycans (30 microg/mg w.w.) and the presence of collagen type II (1.5 microg/mg w.w.). Macroscopically the grafts of E210 without alginate were shrunk and warped, whereas the grafts with alginate had kept their original shape during the 8 weeks of implantation. The use of alginate did not lead to inflammatory reactions nor increased capsule formation. In conclusion, the use of alginate to seed chondrocytes in E210 does not influence the amount of cartilage matrix proteins produced per tissue wet weight. However, it provides retention of the graft shape.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Marijnissen, W., van Osch, G., Aigner, J., van der Veen, S., Hollander, A., Verwoerd-Verhoef, H., & Verhaar, J. (2002). Alginate as a chondrocyte-delivery substance in combination with a non-woven scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering. Biomaterials, 23(6), 1511–1517. doi:10.1016/S0142-9612(01)00281-2