The evaluation of a multiphasic 3D-bioplotted scaffold seeded with adipose derived stem cells to repair osteochondral defects in a porcine model

Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part B Applied Biomaterials 2021 Volume 109, Issue 12, Pages 2246-2258

There is a need for the development of effective treatments for focal articular cartilage injuries. We previously developed a multiphasic 3D-bioplotted osteochondral scaffold design that can drive site-specific tissue formation when seeded with adipose-derived stem cells (ASC). The objective of this study was to evaluate this scaffold in a large animal model. Osteochondral defects were generated in the trochlear groove of Yucatan minipigs and repaired with scaffolds that either contained or lacked an electrospun tidemark and were either unseeded or seeded with ASC. Implants were monitored via computed tomography (CT) over the course of 4 months of in vivo implantation and compared to both open lesions and autologous explants. ICRS II evaluation indicated that defects with ASC-seeded scaffolds had healing that most closely resembled the aulogous explant. Scaffold-facilitated subchondral bone repair mimicked the structure of native bone tissue, but cartilage matrix staining was not apparent within the scaffold. The open lesions had the highest volumetric infill detected using CT analysis (p < 0.05), but the repair tissue was largely disorganized. The acellular scaffold without a tidemark had significantly more volumetric filling than either the acellular or ASC seeded groups containing a tidemark (p < 0.05), suggesting that the tidemark limited cell infiltration into the cartilage portion of the scaffold. Overall, scaffold groups repaired the defect more successfully than an open lesion but achieved limited repair in the cartilage region. With further optimization, this approach holds potential to treat focal cartilage lesions in a highly personalized manner using a human patient’s own ASC cells.