CCNYBarabino Lab
Grove School of Engineering
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Research

Research Areas    |    Sickle Cell Disease    |    Cartilage Tissue Engineering

Cartilage Tissue Engineering

Influence of environmental factors on neocartilage development and mesenchymal stem cell chondrogenesis

Arthritis, a type of musculoskeletal disorder that features joint inflammation and cartilage breakdown, affects 50 million Americans and accounts for $128 billion in healthcare costs annually. In order to be clinically suitable for implantation, cartilage tissue substitutes must meet specific functional criteria related to their mechanical properties, biochemical composition, tissue ultrastructure, immunological compatibility and integration capability. Development of such viable engineered cartilage requires a thorough understanding of environmental factors that regulate cellular behavior and tissue formation. A novel mechanically stirred bioreactor (wavy-walled bioreactor) that imparts fluid shear stress was fabricated to study the regulation of chondrocyte growth by hydrodynamic forces and biochemical cues. In addition, a simple chondrocyte-mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) co-cultivation system aimed to induce and facilitate MSC chondrogenic differentiation was also developed. Successful creation of tissue-engineered cartilage using primary chondrocytes or adult stem cells can be achieved via optimization of these complex environmental parameters.

 

Microfluidic Hydrogels for Improved Cartilage Substitutes

Osteochondral defects within the articulating surface of synovial joints are uniquely incapable of self regeneration leading to permanent joint incongruities and the associated pain and reduced mobility.  Tissue engineered grafts represent a potential solution which minimizes the risks of disease transmission associated with traditional grafting strategies and offering the potential for superior regeneration at the injury site.  In order for engineered constructs to be clinically relevant functional criteria such as size, structure, mechanical properties, biochemical composition, immunological compatibility and integration capability must be met.  Great strides toward meeting these criteria have been made such that the scientific community can now produce constructs which approach the metrics of the native tissue for most of these criteria.  The processes which produce such constructs, however, are limited in their ability to produce constructs which are simultaneously mechanically robust, adequately nourished, and of clinically relevant thickness.  To overcome this constraint, we have propose a scalable hydrogel culture system which provides nutrient and waste exchange to the developing tissue by way of a microfluidic network embedded within the bulk of the hydrogel construct. 

 

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