Authors Lotz, B. ; Bothe, F. ; Deubel, A.-K. ; Hesse, E. ; Renz, Y. ; Werner, C. ; Schäfer, S. ; Böck, T. ; Groll, J. ; von Rechenberg, B. ; Richter, W. ; Hagmann, S.
Title Preclinical testing of new hydrogel materials for cartilage repair: overcoming fixation issues in a large animal model
Date 08.07.2021
Number 59542
Abstract Reinforced hydrogels represent a promising strategy for tissue engineering of articular cartilage. They can recreate mechanical and biological characteristics of native articular cartilage and promote cartilage regeneration in combination with mesenchymal stromal cells. One of the limitations of in vivo models for testing the outcome of tissue engineering approaches is implant fixation. The high mechanical stress within the knee joint, as well as the concave and convex cartilage surfaces, makes fixation of reinforced hydrogel challenging. Methods. Different fixation methods for full-thickness chondral defects in minipigs such as fibrin glue, BioGlue®, covering, and direct suturing of nonenforced and enforced constructs were compared. Because of insufficient fixation in chondral defects, superficial osteochondral defects in the femoral trochlea, as well as the femoral condyle, were examined using press-fit fixation. Two different hydrogels (starPEG and PAGE) were compared by 3D-micro-CT (µCT) analysis as well as histological analysis. Results. Our results showed fixation of below 50% for all methods in chondral defects. A superficial osteochondral defect of 1·mm depth was necessary for long-term fixation of a polycaprolactone (PCL)-reinforced hydrogel construct. Press-fit fixation seems to be adapted for a reliable fixation of 95% without confounding effects of glue or suture material. Despite the good integration of our constructs, especially in the starPEG group, visible bone lysis was detected in micro-CT analysis. There was no significant difference between the two hydrogels (starPEG and PAGE) and empty control defects regarding regeneration tissue and cell integration. However, in the starPEG group, more cell-containing hydrogel fragments were found within the defect area. Conclusion. Press-fit fixation in a superficial osteochondral defect in the medial trochlear groove of adult minipigs is a promising fixation method for reinforced hydrogels. To avoid bone lysis, future approaches should focus on multilayered constructs recreating the zonal cartilage as well as the calcified cartilage and the subchondral bone plate.
Publisher International Journal of Biomaterials
Citation International Journal of Biomaterials 2021 (2021) 5583815

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