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Title: Cell sheet engineering for scaffold-free cartilage regeneration
Author: Lee, Jang-ho
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Osteoarthritis, the most prevalent joint disease in the United Kingdom, is a progressive condition that results in end-stage full-thickness cartilage loss and has important social and economic impacts on society. Since cartilage lacks regenerative capabilities, it is essential to develop approaches to initiate and enhance cartilage regeneration. In this context, tissue engineering is emerging as an attractive approach for the regeneration of cartilage tissue damaged due to disease or trauma. A scaffold-free cartilage construct, analogous to those found during embryonic precartilage condensation, has received much attention as an alternative novel modality for cartilage tissue engineering. Cartilage repair with scaffold-free tissue more closely resembles the natural situation and mimics the features of the original tissue. Moreover, scaffold-free cartilage implants can overcome the complications caused by the use of suboptimal scaffolds by avoiding the need for a foreign scaffold at all. Culturing cells into tissue patches without the requirement for a scaffold can be achieved through cell sheet engineering, which uses thermo-responsive culture dishes. However, the high costs of the tissue culture consumables, and the relatively low cellular yield, makes this process less attractive. This thesis presents a novel method for generating shape-, size- and thickness-adjustable 3-dimensional scaffold-free cell pellet sheets for use as implantable biological cell patches for cartilage tissue engineering. This new technique of bioengineering scaffold-free cell pellet sheets proves to be reproducible, easily applicable, sizable and thickness adjustable. Stem cells have added a new thrust to tissue engineering. Their distinctive self-renewal and plasticity have not only optimized many tissue engineering developments, but also rendered feasible some applications which would otherwise be unattainable with somatic cells. Human mesenchymal stem cells (HMSCs) were used to examine the optimal condition for generating cell pellet sheets with this new method. Furthermore, the resultant differentiated pellet sheets were compared directly with HMSCs, human chondrocytes and human fibroblasts alone to evaluate the feasibility of using this cell pellet sheet for clinical applications in terms of their biological and mechanical properties. The results of this thesis suggest that the engineered scaffold-free, chondrogenic, differentiated MSC pellet sheet not only exhibits desirable biologic features similar to chondrocytes, but also demonstrates good integrative and viscoelastic potential that might offer exciting possibilities for the development of novel biologically-based clinical therapies. In summary the data presented herein indicate the following points:
  • The differentiation of human MSCs into chondrogenic cells was achieved.
  • A novel approach of centrifugal seeding on a PDMS surface was shown to effectively generate chondrogenic-differentiated cell pellet sheets without impairing the biological functions of chondrocytes.
  • Various cell types such as human MSCs, human chondrocytes and human fibroblasts were found to respond well to the novel methodology and generated viable, cohesive, less shrinkable, and readily-detachable cell pellet sheets, the size and thickness of which could be adapted as required. The results obtained were superior to those obtained using the conventional thermo-responsive culture dish method.
This new methodology developed in this thesis provides an approach to in vitro cell pellet sheet generation which is closer to the physiological process of cartilage development and which proved valuable for the study of in vitro generation of scaffold-free cell patches as an important adjunct to many traditional cartilage restorative procedures. Future research on in vivo assessment of the cell sheet and the functional role of these sheets in repairing damaged cartilage is recommended.
Supervisor: Cui, Zhanfeng; Sabokbar, Afsie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Orthopaedics ; mesenchymal stem cell sheet ; cartilage regeberation