Book-Shaped Acellular Fibrocartilage Scaffold with Cell-loading Capability and Chondrogenic Inducibility for Tissue-Engineered Fibrocartilage and Bone-Tendon Healing

Can Chen, Fei Liu, Yifu Tang, Jin Qu, Yong Cao, Cheng Zheng, Yang Chen, Muzhi Li, Chunfeng Zhao, Lunquan Sun, Jianzhong Hu, Hongbin Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Functional fibrocartilage regeneration is a bottleneck during bone-tendon healing, and the currently available tissue-engineering strategies for fibrocartilage regeneration are insufficient because of a lack of appropriate scaffold that can load large seeding-cells and induce chondrogenesis of stem cells. The acellular fibrocartilage scaffold (AFS) contains active growth factors as well as tissue-specific epitopes for cell-matrix interactions, which make it a potential scaffold for tissue-engineered fibrocartilage. A limitation to this scaffold is that its low porosity inhibits cells loading and infiltration. Here, inspired by book appearance, we sectioned native fibrocartilage tissue (NFT) into book-shape to improve cells loading and infiltration, and then decellularized with four protocols: (1) 2% SDS for 6-h, (2) 2% SDS for 24-h, (3) 4 SDS for 6-h, (4) 4% SDS for 24-h, followed by nuclease digestion. The optimal protocol was screened with respect to microstructures, DNA residence, native ingredients reservation, and chondrogenic inducibility of the AFS. In vitro studies demonstrated that this screened scaffold is noncytotoxicity and low-immunogenicity, allows adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) attachment and proliferation, shows superior chondrogenic inducibility, and stimulates collagen or glycosaminoglycans secretion. The underlying mechanism for this chondrogenic inducibility may be related to hedgehog pathway activating. Additionally, a novel pattern for fabricating tissue-engineered fibrocartilage was developed to enlarge seeding-cells loading, namely, cell-sheets sandwiched by book-shaped scaffold. In-vivo studies indicate that this screened scaffold alone could induce endogenous cells to satisfactorily regenerate fibrocartilage at 16-week, as characterized by fibrocartilaginous extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and good interface integration. Interleaving this book-shaped AFS with autologous ASCs-sheets significantly enhanced its ability to regenerate fibrocartilage. Cell tracking demonstrated that fibrochondrocytes, osteoblasts, and osteocytes in the healing interface at postoperative 8-week partly originated from the sandwiched ASCs-sheets. On that basis, we propose the use of this book-shaped AFS and cell sheet technique for fabricating tissue-engineered fibrocartilage to improve bone-tendon healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2891-2907
Number of pages17
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 23 2019


  • adipose-derived stromal cells
  • bone-tendon healing
  • book-shaped acellular scaffold
  • fibrocartilage regeneration
  • tissue-engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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