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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 539789, 10 pages
Research Article

3D Dynamic Culture of Rabbit Articular Chondrocytes Encapsulated in Alginate Gel Beads Using Spinner Flasks for Cartilage Tissue Regeneration

State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering, School of Bioengineering, East China University of Science and Technology, 130 Mei-Long Road, P.O. Box 309, Shanghai 200237, China

Received 20 May 2014; Revised 11 September 2014; Accepted 14 September 2014; Published 24 November 2014

Academic Editor: Magali Cucchiarini

Copyright © 2014 Feiyue Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cell-based therapy using chondrocytes for cartilage repair suffers from chondrocyte dedifferentiation. In the present study, the effects of an integrated three-dimensional and dynamic culture on rabbit articular chondrocytes were investigated. Cells (passages 1 and 4) were encapsulated in alginate gel beads and cultured in spinner flasks in chondrogenic and chondrocyte growth media. Subcutaneous implantation of the cell-laden beads was performed to evaluate the ectopic chondrogenesis. It was found that cells remained viable after 35 days in the three-dimensional dynamic culture. Passage 1 cells demonstrated a proliferative growth in both media. Passage 4 cells showed a gradual reduction in DNA content in growth medium, which was attenuated in chondrogenic medium. Deposition of glycosaminoglycans (GAG) was found in all cultures. While passage 1 cells generally produced higher amounts of GAG than passage 4 cells, GAG/DNA became similar on day 35 for both cells in growth media. Interestingly, GAG/DNA in growth medium was greater than that in chondrogenic medium for both cells. Based on GAG quantification and gene expression analysis, encapsulated passage 1 cells cultured in growth medium displayed the best ectopic chondrogenesis. Taken together, the three-dimensional and dynamic culture for chondrocytes holds great potential in cartilage regeneration.