Co-cultured tissue-specific scaffolds for tendon/bone interface engineering


The tendon/ligament-to-bone interface has a complex organization to enable transfer of forces through the tendon/ligament to the bone. The purpose of this study is to create a co-culture environment enabling a tissue-specific tendon region and tissue-specific bone region on a degradable scaffold, using NIH 3T3 fibroblast–deposited extracellular matrix and MC 3T3 osteoblast–deposited extracellular matrix, respectively. Before full characterization of the deposited extracellular matrix coating can be analyzed, co-culture parameters including culture medium and seeding technique should be addressed. An appropriate medium formulation was developed to reduce fibroblast to osteoblast mineralization by adjusting beta-glycerophosphate concentrations. Standard growth medium with fetal bovine serum + 3 mM beta-glycerophosphate + 25 µg/mL ascorbic acid was found to be the most suitable formulation evaluated in these study conditions. Seeding and cell migration studies of co-cultured fibroblast- and osteoblast-specific scaffolds were performed to identify whether tissue regions could be created on the scaffold. Fibroblast and osteoblast regions were successfully seeded and little to no cell migration was observed up to 42 h after seeding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of basic extracellular matrix components was measured in the fibroblast, osteoblast, and transition regions. Tissue-specific DNA, glycosaminoglycan, and collagen were found in uniform amounts on the scaffolds and were not different significantly between scaffold regions. In conclusion, initial steps to create tissue-specific fibroblast and osteoblast regions on a degradable scaffold were successful in preparation for further characterization investigations as a tendon-to-bone interface scaffold.

Publication Title

Journal of Tissue Engineering