DOI: 10.1302/1358-992x.2024.2.123 ISSN: 1358-992X


C. Gögele, S. Müller, S. Wiltzsch, A. Lenhart, K. Schäfer-Eckart, G. Schulze-Tanzil

The regenerative capacity of hyaline cartilage is greatly limited. To prevent the onset of osteoarthritis, cartilage defects have to be properly treated. Cartilage, tissue engineered by mean of bioactive glass (BG) scaffolds presents a promising approach. Until now, conventional BGs have been used mostly for bone regeneration, as they are able to form a hydroxyapatite (HA) layer and are therefore, less suited for cartilage reconstruction. The aim of this study is to compare two BGs based on a novel BG composition tailored specifically for cartilage (CAR12N) and patented by us with conventional BG (BG1393) with a similar topology. The highly porous scaffolds consisting of 100% BG (CAR12N, CAR12N with low Ca2+/Mg2+ and BG1393) were characterized and dynamically seeded with primary porcine articular chondrocytes (pACs) or primary human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) for up to 21 days. Subsequently, cell viability, DNA and glycosaminoglycan contents, cartilage-specific gene and protein expression were evaluated. The manufacturing process led to a comparable high (over 80%) porosity in all scaffold variants. Ion release and pH profiles confirmed bioactivity for them. After both, 7 and 21 days, more than 60% of the total surfaces of all three glass scaffold variants was densely colonized by cells with a vitality rate of more than 80%. The GAG content was significantly higher in BG1393 colonized with pACs. In general, the GAG content was higher in pAC colonized scaffolds in comparison to those seeded with hMSCs. The gene expression of cartilage-specific collagen type II, aggrecan, SOX9 and FOXO1 could be detected in all scaffold variants, irrespectively whether seeded with pACs or hMSCs. Cartilage-specific ECM components could also be detected at the protein level. In conclusion, all three BGs allow the maintenance of the chondrogenic phenotype or chondrogenic differentiation of hMSCs and thus, they present a high potential for cartilage regeneration.

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