Regenerating or engineering new tissues and organs may one day allow routine replacement of lost or failing tissues and organs. However, these engineered tissues must not only grow to fill a defect and integrate with the host tissue, but often they must also grow in concert with the changing needs of the body over time. We hypothesized that tissues capable of growing with time could be engineered by supplying growth stimulus signals to cells from the biomaterial used for cell transplantation. In this study, chondrocytes and osteoblasts were cotransplanted on hydrogels modified with an RGD-containing peptide sequence to promote cell multiplication. New bone tissue was formed that grew in mass and cellularity by endochondral ossification in a manner similar to normal long-bone growth. Transplanted cells organized into structures that morphologically and functionally resembled growth plates. These engineered tissues could find utility in treating diseases and injuries of the growth plate, testing the effect of experimental drugs on growth-plate function and development, and investigating the biology of long-bone growth. Furthermore, this concept of promoting the growth of engineered tissues could find great utility in engineering numerous tissue types by way of the transplantation of a small number of precursor cells.
Last updated on 09/29/2017
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