Additive manufactured, highly resilient, elastic, and biodegradable poly(ester)urethane scaffolds with chondroinductive properties for cartilage tissue engineering

S. Camarero-Espinosa*, C. Tomasina, A. Calore, L. Moroni

*Corresponding author for this work

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Articular cartilage was thought to be one of the first tissues to be successfully engineered. Despite the avascular and non-innervated nature of the tissue, the cells within articular cartilage - chondrocytes - account for a complex phenotype that is difficult to be maintained in vitro. The use of bone marrow-derived stromal cells (BMSCs) has emerged as a potential solution to this issue. Differentiation of BMSCs toward stable and non-hypertrophic chondrogenic phenotypes has also proved to be challenging. Moreover, hyaline cartilage presents a set of mechanical properties - relatively high Young's modulus, elasticity, and resilience - that are difficult to reproduce. Here, we report on the use of additive manufactured biodegradable poly(ester)urethane (PEU) scaffolds of two different structures (500 mu m pore size and 90 degrees or 60 degrees deposition angle) that can support the loads applied onto the knee while being highly resilient, with a permanent deformation lower than 1% after 10 compression-relaxation cycles. Moreover, these scaffolds appear to promote BMSC differentiation, as shown by the deposition of glycosaminoglycans and collagens (in particular collagen II). At gene level, BMSCs showed an upregulation of chondrogenic markers, such as collagen II and the Sox trio, to higher or similar levels than that of traditional pellet cultures, with a collagen II/collagen I relative expression of 2-3, depending on the structure of the scaffold. Moreover, scaffolds with different pore architectures influenced the differentiation process and the final BMSC phenotype. These data suggest that additive manufactured PEU scaffolds could be good candidates for cartilage tissue regeneration in combination with microfracture interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100051
Number of pages12
JournalMaterials today. Bio
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Fused deposition modelling
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Stem cell
  • Bioresorbable
  • Tissue regeneration
  • BONE

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