Woven cartilage scaffold

 

Cartilage with unique arcade-like orientation is a load-bearing tissue which facilitates low-friction articulation in diarthroidal joints. Decades of duty cycles and limited self-regeneration capacity take their toll on cartilage integrity, resulting in the formation of defects. Condensation is critical to the attainment of chondrogenesis, a scaffold system which enables the delivery of MSCs in pellet form would unify the chondrogenic merit of condensation with the structural merits of scaffolds. In this study we designed a scaffold platform that emulates the interdigitated arcade structure of the cartilage. The weaving pattern provided a macropore network within which micromass cell pellets were seeded to take advantage of mesenchymal condensation driven chondrogenesis. Compression tests showed that the baseline scaffold had a close modulus to native cartilage at a porosity of 80% and increased by 60% after 28 days of culture, converging to the modulus of the native cartilage. The scaffolds displayed duress under displacement controlled low-cycle fatigue at 15% strain amplitude. The woven biomimetic structure demonstrated a substantial elastic recoil where 40% mechanical strain was close to completely recovered following unloading.  Histological and immuno-histological analyses showed that the volume of pellets seeded in scaffolds increased by to fill the scaffold macropores. A robust chondrogenesis was observed as evidenced by positive staining for GAGs and type II collagen.