Cartilage Tissue Engineering

The treatment of damaged cartilage represents a significant and expensive challenge for the healthcare industry. Tissue engineering has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of articular cartilage damaged by osteoarthritis or injury, but a major unresolved problem is producing functional cartilage with thickness and biochemical properties comparable to natural articular cartilage. Prof. Jay Henderson has recently shown that the use of controlled oxygen conditions may increase the thickness and improve the biochemical properties of cartilage engineered in the lab. Current cartilage tissue engineering work in the Henderson lab focuses on determining the extent to which oxygen levels during cartilage cell culture and cartilage engineering affect the size and the biochemical and biomechanical properties of cartilage engineered in the lab. The rationale for the research is that, once optimized, controlled oxygen levels can be incorporated into tissue-engineering strategies, resulting in functional engineered cartilage for the treatment of damaged articular cartilage.

Cartilage Tissue Research

The effects of “low” oxygen levels on engineered cartilage. The morphology of engineered cartilage “pellets” are shown as a function of time in aggregate culture. “Low” oxygen conditions increased the rate of engineered cartilage formation. Chondrocytes (cartilage cells) expanded at 5% O2 generated, in a period of one week, cartilage tissue of wet weight comparable to that generated in a period of three weeks by chondrocytes expanded at 21% O2. Scale bar = 1mm.

















Representative publications

Henderson JH, Ginley NM, Niyibizi C, Caplan AI, and Dennis JE. Low oxygen tension during incubation periods of chondrocyte expansion is sufficient to enhance postexpansion chondrogenesis. Tissue Eng Part A, 16:1585–1593, 2010.