Hierarchical Bioplotting for Cartilage Tissue Engineering


Investigator: Thomas Kreller (Master student) 

Thomas Kreller


Supervisors: Thomas Distler, Prof. Aldo R. Boccaccini

Articular cartilage is the highly specialized connective tissue of diarthrodial joints. Its principal function is to provide a smooth, lubricated surface for articulation and to facilitate the transmission of loads with a low frictional coefficient [1]. Yet, due to damaged articular cartilage tissue, diseases such as osteoarthritis and the poor intrinsic healing capacity of this tissue, there is a great demand for alternatives to articular cartilage regeneration. Due to the intrinsic hierarchical structure of articular cartilage, which is one factor for its long-life function, the aim of this Master thesis is to investigate the possibility of recreating this hierarchical structure by a 3D bioplotting approach in vitro. Due to its promising characteristics regarding biocompatibility, biodegradability and cell-material interactions, ADA-Gel [2] is used as a bio-ink for a biomimetic approach towards cartilage tissue engineering. Via additive manufacturing, different hydrogel-scaffold designs with similar hierarchical structure of cartilage will be tested regarding their mechanical and structural properties as well as their biocompatibility towards a cell line with chondrogenic differentiation capacity.

[1] A. J. S. Fox, A. Bedi, and S. A. Rodeo, “The Basic Science of Articular Cartilage: Structure, Composition, and Function”, Sports health, vol. 1, no. 6, pp. 461–468, 2009.

[2] B. Sarker, D. G. Papageorgiou, R. Silva, T. Zehnder, F. Gul-e-noor, M. Bertmer, J. Kaschta, K. Chrissafis, R. Detsch, and A. R. Boccaccini, “Fabrication of alginate – gelatin crosslinked hydrogel microcapsules and evaluation of the microstructure and physico-chemical properties”, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, vol. 2, pp. 1470–1482, 2014.