Articular chondrocytes are difficult to grow, as they lose their characteristic phenotype following expansion on standard tissue culture plates. Here, we show that culturing them on surfaces of poly(L-lactic acid) of well-defined microtopography allows expansion and maintenance of characteristic chondrogenic markers. We investigated the dynamics of human chondrocyte dedifferentiation on the different poly(L-lactic acid) microtopographies by the expression of collagen type I, collagen type II and aggrecan at different culture times. When seeded on poly(L-lactic acid), chondrocytes maintained their characteristic hyaline phenotype up to 7 days, which allowed to expand the initial cell population approximately six times without cell dedifferentiation. Maintenance of cell phenotype was afterwards correlated to cell adhesion on the different substrates. Chondrocytes adhesion occurs via the α5β1 integrin on poly(L-lactic acid), suggesting cell–fibronectin interactions. However, α2β1 integrin is mainly expressed on the control substrate after 1 day of culture, and the characteristic chondrocytic markers are lost (collagen type II expression is overcome by the synthesis of collagen type I). Expanding chondrocytes on poly(L-lactic acid) might be an effective solution to prevent dedifferentiation and improving the number of cells needed for autologous chondrocyte transplantation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering