Comprehensive characterization of chondrocyte cultures in plasma and whole blood biomatrices for cartilage tissue engineering

Ronny M. Schulz, Marcus Haberhauer, Göran Zernia, Claudia Pösel, Christian Thümmler, Jeremy S. Somerson, Daniel Huster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Many synthetic polymers and biomaterials have been used as matrices for 3D chondrocyte seeding and transplantation in the field of cartilage tissue engineering. To develop a fully autologous carrier for chondrocyte cultivation, we examined the feasibility of allogeneic plasma and whole blood-based matrices and compared them to agarose constructs. Primary articular chondrocytes isolated from 12-month-old pigs were embedded into agarose, plasma and whole blood matrices and cultivated under static-free swelling conditions for up to four weeks. To evaluate the quality of the synthesized extracellular matrix (ECM), constructs were subjected to weekly examinations using histological staining, spectrophotometry, immunohistochemistry and biochemical analysis. In addition, gene expression of cartilage-specific markers such as aggrecan, Sox9 and collagen types I, II and X was determined by RT-PCR. Chondrocyte morphology was assessed via scanning electron microscopy and viability staining, including proliferation and apoptosis assays. Finally, 13C NMR spectroscopy provided further evidence of synthesis of ECM components. It was shown that chondrocyte cultivation in allogeneic plasma and whole-blood matrices promoted sufficient chondrocyte viability and differentiation behaviour, resulting in neo-formation of a hyaline-like cartilage matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-577
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomatrices
  • Cartilage
  • Chondrocytes
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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