A cell-free therapy for articular cartilage repair based on synergistic delivery of SDF-1 & KGN with HA injectable scaffold

Huachu Wu, Liang Shen, Zhu Zhu , Xusong Luo, Yishu Zhai, Xiaobin Hua, Shicheng Zhao, Lian Cen, Zhibing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


This study was to co-encapsulate a chemokine (stromal cell-derived factor-1, SDF-1) and a chondroinductive molecule (kartogenin, KGN) within microspheres via microfluidics, and to incorporate them into a hyaluronic acid (HA) injectable scaffold for articular cartilage defect repair. HA injectable scaffold, as a cartilage-friendly microenvironment, was prepared by crosslinking HA with 1,4-butanediol diglycidyl ether. A microfluidic device was set up to prepare monodisperse PLGA microspheres (49 μm) to load SDF-1 and KGN. An in vivo model of full-thickness articular cartilage defects in rabbits was applied to evaluate the reparative capacity of the current package. The SDF-1 and KGN were co-encapsulated simultaneously within the core and shell area of the microsphere with high loading efficiency and sustained release profiles of more than 2 months. The release profiles of them were highly matched and well fitted to a first-order mathematical model. These microspheres when incorporated into HA injectable scaffold were demonstrated to heal the full-thickness articular cartilage defects in rabbits. The regenerated tissue had the typical cartilage histological characters and integrated well with the surrounding tissue at 12w. This developed cell-free system could serve as an efficient therapy for articular cartilage defects treatment, serving as a supplementary way to cell based therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124649
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date5 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2020


  • Cartilage regeneration
  • Co-encapsulation
  • Injectable scaffold
  • KGN
  • SDF-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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