Varied exogenous chondrogenic factors (CFs) are implicated in promoting differentiation of stem cells along a chondrocyte lineage in the field of regenerative tissue engineering for articular cartilage repair. The effects of dexamethasone, transforming growth factor β3 (TGF-β3), ascorbate, and their combinations, on mRNA expression in micromass-cultured human adipose derived stem cells (hADSCs) were investigated as a function of time. Indices include chondrogenic, hypertrophic, angiogenic, fibrogenic and osteogenic markers along with mechanical properties, assessed by atomic force microscopy. Early in the culture, i.e., at day three, no significant differences in mRNA expression of SOX9, aggrecan, lubricin, Col XI, Col X, vascular endothelial growth factor, Col I, and alkaline phosphatase were observed among samples treated with different CFs. However, significant differences in mRNA expression levels of pre-mentioned markers among samples treated with each CF exist when samples were supplied with the CFs for more than three days. A new indexing scheme summing expression of chondrogenic and subtracting non-chondrogenic angiogenic, fibrogenic and osteogenic marker levels shows dexamethasone is the overall leading CF among the factors and their combinations. Based on this scheme, we have projected not only the possible signaling pathways which might be affected by addition of CFs but also hypothetical indexes that may occur upon temporal variation of growth factor regimens.
To repair articular cartilage (AC) defects in osteoarthritic patients, one approach is to engineer three-dimensional grafts with physicochemical properties similar to endogenous AC. Such grafts can be grown in bioreactors that provide environmental conditions favoring chondrogenesis. Studies show mechanical stimulation during the culturing process greatly enhances development of functional engineered grafts. A review of literature on bioreactor options reveals a lack of capacity to simultaneously stimulate cells with a combination of shear stress and oscillating hydrostatic pressure, both of which are important parts of the in vivo AC environment. It is hypothesized that combining both forces in a new bioreactor design will contribute to better AC tissue growth. In this paper, we provide a brief review of bioreactors and describe a new computer-controlled perfusion and pressurized bioreactor system, and the novelty of its control programming features for service in a host of applications. We briefly summarize results on synergistic effects in employing perfusion, oscillating hydrostatic pressure in a scaffold free environment and with the addition of encapsulation for inducing chondrogenesis. We further describe efforts to modify the newly developed system to include a continuous flow and pressurized centrifugal mode to enhance further the capabilities for inclusion of very high shear stresses. Applications for several other cell and tissue engineering approaches are discussed.
Over the past three decades, the field of tissue engineering has advanced rapidly and become a research hotspot in biomedicine, especially for treating the damages caused by cardiovascular diseases. Although artificial blood vessels with excellent functionality have been developed through advanced technologies, the use of tissue-engineered small-diameter vascular grafts for treating cardiovascular diseases has not been explored in depth. Decellularized vascular matrices for small-diameter vascular grafts offer unique advantages as they retain the entire extracellular matrix, have superior biocompatibility, and cause minimal immunogenic reactions. Therefore, many corporations around the world are trying to develop decellularized vascular matrices into viable vascular grafts that could be commercially used. Here, we briefly introduce four eminent companies that have undertaken this challenge and their representative products, including Cytograft Tissue Engineering Inc., Humacyte, Inc., Vascudyne, Inc. and LeMaitre Vascular, Inc.
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