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A novel, self-assembled artificial cartilage–hydroxyapatite conjugate for combined articular cartilage and subchondral bone repair: histopathological analysis of cartilage tissue engineering in rat knee joints

Authors Kumai T, Yui N, Yatabe K, Sasaki C, Fujii R, Takenaga M, Fujiya H, Niki H, Yudoh K

Received 8 November 2018

Accepted for publication 22 January 2019

Published 19 February 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 1283—1298

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S193963

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Govarthanan Muthusamy

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas J Webster


Takanori Kumai,1 Naoko Yui,1 Kanaka Yatabe,1 Chizuko Sasaki,2 Ryoji Fujii,3 Mitsuko Takenaga,3 Hiroto Fujiya,1 Hisateru Niki,4 Kazuo Yudoh3

1Department of Sports Medicine, St Marianna University School of Medicine, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki 216-8511, Japan; 2Institute for Ultrastructural Morphology, St Marianna University Graduate School of Medicine, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki 216-8512, Japan; 3Department of Frontier Medicine, Institute of Medical Science, St Marianna University School of Medicine, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki 216-8512, Japan; 4Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, St Marianna University School of Medicine, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki 216-8512, Japan

Purpose: We previously created a self-assembled cartilage-like complex in vitro from only three cartilage components, hyaluronic acid (HA), aggrecan (AG) and type II collagen, without other materials such as cross-linking agents. Based on this self-organized AG/HA/collagen complex, we have created three novel types of biphasic cartilage and bone-like scaffolds combined with hydroxyapatite (HAP) for osteochondral tissue engineering. These scaffolds have been developed from self-assembled cartilage component molecules and HAP at the nanometer scale by manipulating the intermolecular relations.
Patients and methods: The surface structure of each self-organized biphasic cartilage and bone-like scaffold was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy, whereas the viscoelasticity was also analyzed in vitro. Three types of artificial cartilage–HAP conjugates were implanted into an osteochondral defect in rat knee joints, and bone and cartilage tissues of the implanted site were examined 4 and 8 weeks after implantation. The tissues were examined histopathologically to evaluate the effects of the implantation on the articular cartilage and subchondral bone tissues.
Results: Our in vitro and in vivo data reveal that the self-organized biphasic cartilage and bone-like scaffold conjugated with HAP are superior to the scaffold with no HAP in both cartilage regeneration and subchondral bone regeneration.
Conclusion: Our present study indicates that the self-organized biphasic cartilage and bone-like scaffold, which is conjugated with an HAP layer, may have potential not only to repair articular cartilage defects but also to ameliorate the degeneration of subchondral bone in the diseases with osteochondral defect.

Keywords: cartilage tissue engineering, subchondral bone, articular cartilage, osteoarthritis, self assembly, hydroxyapatite

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