What will happen if we put chondrocytes into micro-aggregates?

What will happen if we put chondrocytes into micro-aggregates?

Previous works demonstrated that micro-aggregation enhance sensitivity to chondrogenic stimuli and decrease the expression of catabolic factors, resulting in a higher accumulation of cartilaginous matrix. However, for treatment of a cartilage defects a large amount of cells is necessary and since only a limited amount of chondrocytes can be obtained from the patient different strategy is needed. Therefore a cell based strategies was developed in which part of the chondrocytes needed is replaced by MSCs. In previous experiments it was demonstrated that compared to chondrocytes alone, co-cultures of MSCs with articular chondrocytes produced more matrix, especially when the MSCs and chondrocytes were mixed at the ratio of 80/20%.

Thus, in this project, we will then evaluate the crosstalk between chondrocytes and MSCs in the micro-aggregates.

MSCs and chondrocytes will be isolated and cultured in their expansion mediums, relatively. After harvesting, both cells aggregations and single cells will be embedded in agarose and then cultured in chondrogenic differentiation medium for 28 days. Histology staining and biochemical analysis of these samples will be performed to measure the cartilaginous matrix production. Total RNA will be also isolated to analyze the expression of related genes. With these results, we can investigate the potential applications of micro-hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering.

Techniques that will be used in this project:

Cell (co-)-culture, histological and biochemical analysis, qPCR, and microscopy

Daily Supervisor: Yao Fu, MSc

Supervisor: Dr.ing. Sanne Both

If you are interested in this assignment, please contact: Dr. Janneke Alers, contact person for all DBE assignments