Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Martin, James

First Committee Member

Ozbolat, Ibrahim T.

Second Committee Member

Hong, Liu

Third Committee Member

Grosland, Nicole M.

Fourth Committee Member

Sander, Edward A.


Articular cartilage damage associated with joint trauma seldom heals and often leads to osteoarthritis (OA). Current treatment often fails to regenerated functional cartilage close to native tissue. We previously identified a migratory chondrogenic progenitor cell (CPC) population that responded chemotactically to cell death and rapidly repopulated the injured cartilage matrix, which suggested their potential for cartilage repair. To test that potential we filled experimental full thickness chondral defects with an acellular hydrogel containing SDF-1α. We expect that SDF-1α can increase the recruitment of CPCs, and then promote the formation of a functional cartilage matrix with chondrogenic factors. Full-thickness bovine chondral defects were filled with hydrogel comprised of fibrin and hyaluronic acid and containing SDF-1α. Cell migration was monitored, followed by chondrogenic induction. Regenerated tissue was evaluated by histology, immunohistochemistry, and scanning electron microscopy. Push-out tests were performed to assess the strength of integration between regenerated tissue and host cartilage. Significant numbers of progenitor cells were recruited by SDF-1α within 12 days. By 5 weeks chondrogenesis, repair tissue cell morphology, proteoglycan density and surface ultrastructure were similar to native cartilage. SDF-1α treated defects had significantly greater interfacial strength than untreated controls. However, regenerated neocartilage had relatively inferior mechanical properties compared with native cartilage. In addition to that, we developed a 3D bioprinting platform, which can directly print chondrocytes as well as CPCs to fabricated articular cartilage tissue in vitro. We successfully implanted the printed tissue into an osteochondral defect, and observed tissue repair after implantation. The regerated tissue has biochemical and mechanical properties within the physiological range of native articular cartilage. This study showed that, when CPC chemotaxis and chondrogenesis are stimulated sequentially, in situ full thickness cartilage regeneration and bonding of repair tissue to surrounding cartilage could occur without the need for cell transplantation from exogenous sources. This study also demonstrated the potential of using 3D bioprinting to engineer articular cartilage implants for repairing cartilage defect.


Bioprinting, Cartilage repair, Cell homing, Chondrogenic Progenitor Cells, Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering


xiii, 115 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 108-115).


Copyright © 2015 Yin Yu