The effects of fixed electrical charge on chondrocyte behavior

Mahrokh Dadsetan, Matthias Pumberger, Michelle E. Casper, Kristin Shogren, Melissa Giuliani, Terry Ruesink, Theresa E. Hefferan, Bradford L. Currier, Michael J. Yaszemski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In this study we have compared the effects of negative and positive fixed charges on chondrocyte behavior in vitro. Electrical charges have been incorporated into oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) (OPF) using small charged monomers such as sodium methacrylate (SMA) and (2-(methacryloyloxy) ethyl)-trimethyl ammonium chloride (MAETAC) to produce negatively and positively charged hydrogels, respectively. The physical and electrical properties of the hydrogels were characterized by measuring and calculating the swelling ratio and zeta potential, respectively. Our results revealed that the properties of these OPF modified hydrogels varied according to the concentration of charged monomers. Zeta potential measurements demonstrated that the electrical properties of the OPF hydrogel surfaces changed on incorporation of SMA and MAETAC and that these changes in electrical properties were dose-dependent. Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to determine the hydrogel surface composition. To assess the effects of surface properties on chondrocyte behavior primary chondrocytes isolated from rabbit ears were seeded as a monolayer on top of the hydrogels. We demonstrated that the cells remained viable over 7 days and began to proliferate while seeded on top of the hydrogels. Collagen type II staining was positive in all samples, however, the staining intensity was higher on negatively charged hydrogels. Similarly, glycosaminoglycan production was significantly higher on negatively charged hydrogels compared with a neutral hydrogel. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction showed up-regulation of collagen type II and down-regulation of collagen type I on the negatively charged hydrogels. These findings indicate that charge plays an important role in establishing an appropriate environment for chondrocytes and, hence, in the engineering of cartilage. Thus, further investigations into charged hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering is merited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2080-2090
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Cartilage tissue engineering
  • Electrical charge
  • Hydrogel
  • Oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate)
  • Scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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