Geometric confinement is required for recovery and maintenance of chondrocyte phenotype in alginate

Megan E. Cooke, Mark Pearson, Richard Moakes, Christopher Weston, Edward Davis, Simon Jones, Liam Grover

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Human articular chondrocytes lose their native phenotype when expanded in traditional monolayer cultures. As a consequence, hydrogel encapsulation has been investigated as a means to maintain natural phenotype. Alginate has been widely used for cartilage engineering as it has been shown to enable the recovery of a native collagen type II expressing chondrocyte phenotype. This study has evaluated whether the capacity of the materials to maintain/revert phenotype is due to the composition of the material or the physical entrapment provided by the gel. To achieve this, an alginate “fluid gel” (a shearthinning
structured gel system) was produced of identical chemistry to a traditionally gelled alginate structure. Both were seeded with passaged primary human articular chondrocytes. Chondrocytes in quiescent alginate showed recovery of the native phenotype and a spherical morphology. Chondrocytes in alginate fluid gel were unable to maintain a recovered phenotype despite having spherical morphology and were shown to have a lower level of entrapment than those in quiescent alginate. These findings indicate that geometric entrapment is essential to maintenance of a recovered chondrocyte phenotype in alginate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number016104
JournalAPL Bioengineering
Early online date1 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • tissues
  • shear thinning
  • equipment
  • cell cultures
  • fluid flows


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