Fibrin glue has been a favorable hydrogel in cartilage tissue engineering, but implantation of chondrocyte-fibrin suspensions have resulted in volume loss. In this study, human septal cartilage chips were seeded onto a fibrin scaffold, and cellular proliferation and production of cartilaginous extracellular matrix (ECM) were evaluated.
Human septal cartilage was diced into cartilage chips and encased with and without fibrin glue. Four conditions were initially tested for DNA content and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production: (1) control medium in tissue culture, (2) control medium with fibrin glue, (3) collagenase-supplemented medium in tissue culture, and (4) collagenase-supplemented medium seeded in fibrin glue. Cartilage chips cultured in collagenase-treated medium were then seeded onto either cell culture plates, suspended in alginate, or mixed with fibrin. Cellular proliferation, GAG production, and histochemistry were evaluated.
Fibrin preparations increased cellular proliferation and DNA content. GAG levels were highest in collagenase-treated samples encased in fibrin. Cartilage chips treated with collagenase showed increased cellular proliferation in the fibrin preparations compared with preparations without fibrin. GAG increased with the addition of fibrin when compared with explant. Histochemistry revealed increased GAG accumulation in the regions between the cartilage chips with the addition of fibrin.
Adding fibrin glue to collagenase-treated cartilage chips results in increased proliferation and maintains ECM production and, therefore, may facilitate generation of cartilaginous tissue for use in reconstructive surgery.