In vitro and in vivo evaluation of chitosan-gelatin scaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering

Shu Wen Whu*, Kun Che Hung, Kuo Huang Hsieh, Chih Hwa Chen, Ching Lin Tsai, Shan Hui Hsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

70 Scopus citations


Chitosan-gelatin polyelectrolyte complexes were fabricated and evaluated as tissue engineering scaffolds for cartilage regeneration in vitro and in vivo. The crosslinker for the gelatin component was selected among glutaraldehyde, bisepoxy, and a water-soluble carbodiimide (WSC) based upon the proliferation of chondrocytes on the crosslinked gelatin. WSC was found to be the most suitable crosslinker. Complex scaffolds made from chitosan and gelatin with a component ratio equal to one possessed the proper degradation rate and mechanical stability in vitro. Chondrocytes were able to proliferate well and secrete abundant extracellular matrix in the chitosan-gelatin (1:1) complex scaffolds crosslinked by WSC (C1G1WSC) compared to the non-crosslinked scaffolds. Implantation of chondrocytes-seeded scaffolds in the defects of rabbit articular cartilage confirmed that C1G1WSC promoted the cartilage regeneration. The neotissue formed the histological feature of tide line and lacunae in 6.5 months. The amount of glycosaminoglycans in C1G1 WSC constructs (0.187 ± 0.095 μg/mg tissue) harvested from the animals after 6.5 months was 14 wt.% of that in normal cartilage (1.329 ± 0.660 μg/mg tissue). The average compressive modulus of regenerated tissue at 6.5 months was about 0.539 MPa, which approached to that of normal cartilage (0.735 MPa), while that in the blank control (3.881 MPa) was much higher and typical for fibrous tissue. Type II collagen expression in C1G1 WSC constructs was similarly intense as that in the normal hyaline cartilage. According to the above results, the use of C1G1WSC scaffolds may enhance the cartilage regeneration in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2855-2863
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Issue number5
StatePublished - 01 07 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Chitosan
  • Gelatin
  • Hyaline cartilage regeneration
  • Scaffold
  • Tissue engineering


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