Evaluation of Cartilage Repair by Mesenchymal Stem Cells Seeded on a PEOT/PBT Scaffold in an Osteochondral Defect
The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-seeded polyethylene-oxide-terephthalate/polybutylene-terephthalate (PEOT/PBT) scaffold for cartilage tissue repair in an osteochondral defect using a rabbit model. Material characterisation using scanning electron microscopy indicated that the scaffold had a 3D architecture characteristic of the additive manufacturing fabrication method, with a strut diameter of 296 ± 52 μm and a pore size of 512 ± 22 μm ×— 476 ± 25 μm ×— 180 ± 30 μm. In vitro optimisation revealed that the scaffold did not generate an adverse cell response, optimal cell loading conditions were achieved using 50 μg/ml fibronectin and a cell seeding density of 25 ×— 10(6) cells/ml and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) accumulation after 28 days culture in the presence of TGFβ3 indicated positive chondrogenesis. Cell-seeded scaffolds were implanted in osteochondral defects for 12 weeks, with cell-free scaffolds and empty defects employed as controls. On examination of toluidine blue staining for chondrogenesis and GAG accumulation, both the empty defect and the cell-seeded scaffold appeared to promote repair. However, the empty defect and the cell-free scaffold stained positive for collagen type I or fibrocartilage, while the cell-seeded scaffold stained positive for collagen type II indicative of hyaline cartilage and was statistically better than the cell-free scaffold in the blinded histological evaluation. In summary, MSCs in combination with a 3D PEOT/PBT scaffold created a reparative environment for cartilage repair.