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Cartilage Tissue Engineering Combining Microspheroid Building Blocks And Microneedle Arrays

Shawn Patrick Grogan, Erik W. Dorthé, Nicholas E Glembotski, Florian Gaul, Darryl D D'lima
Published 2019 · Medicine, Biology
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ABSTRACT Purpose: Scaffold-free cartilage tissue engineering circumvents issues with scaffold seeding, potential toxicity response, and impaired host integration. However, precisely controlling and maintaining a scaffold-free construct shape have been challenging. We explored the feasibility of microneedle arrays to print tissue using cellular microspheroids as building blocks. Materials and Methods: Human embryonic-derived mesenchymal stem cells or infrapatellar fat pad mesenchymal stem cells were used to create microspheroids of 500 µm in diameter, which were assembled on microneedle arrays in a predefined arrangement using a robotic system under computer vision. Microspheroids on microneedles were cultured to permit fusion into a tissue construct. Infrapatellar fat pad mesenchymal stem cell constructs were either implanted into chondral defects created in human osteoarthritic cartilage explants or maintained on the microneedle array for 3 weeks. Embryonic-derived mesenchymal stem cell constructs were designed to be press-fit into 3 mm subchondral defects in New Zealand White rabbits and maintained for up to 8 weeks to assess retention, early tissue repair, and more mature cartilage regeneration. Results: Microspheroids of both cell types fused together in culture to form neotissues of predefined shape and size. Infrapatellar fat pad mesenchymal stem cell neotissues expressed high levels of chondrogenic genes and integrated with the surrounding osteoarthritic host cartilage. Embryonic-derived mesenchymal stem cell constructs generated chondrogenic neotissue in vivo as early as 2 weeks and more mature tissue by 8 weeks with increased glycosaminoglycan deposition. Conclusions: We constructed defined scaffold-free shapes by bioprinting and fusing microspheroids. Proof of concept was shown in the repair of ex vivo osteoarthritic human cartilage and in vivo rabbit osteochondral (OC) defects.
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