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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 746138, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/746138
Research Article

Cartilage Repair and Subchondral Bone Migration Using 3D Printing Osteochondral Composites: A One-Year-Period Study in Rabbit Trochlea

1State Key Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710054, China
2The First Department of Orthopaedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Health Science Center, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710004, China
3Department of Joint Surgery, Hong Hui Hospital, Health Science Center, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710054, China
4Department of Spine Surgery, Hong Hui Hospital, Health Science Center, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710054, China
5Department of Orthopaedics, The First Affiliated Hospital, Health Science Center, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China
6Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

Received 19 February 2014; Revised 30 June 2014; Accepted 14 July 2014; Published 7 August 2014

Academic Editor: Ulrich Kneser

Copyright © 2014 Weijie Zhang 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.

Abstract

Increasing evidences show that subchondral bone may play a significant role in the repair or progression of cartilage damage in situ. However, the exact change of subchondral bone during osteochondral repair is still poorly understood. In this paper, biphasic osteochondral composite scaffolds were fabricated by 3D printing technology using PEG hydrogel and β-TCP ceramic and then implanted in rabbit trochlea within a critical size defect model. Animals were euthanized at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24, and 52 weeks after implantation. Histological results showed that hyaline-like cartilage formed along with white smooth surface and invisible margin at 24 weeks postoperatively, typical tidemark formation at 52 weeks. The repaired subchondral bone formed from 16 to 52 weeks in a “flow like” manner from surrounding bone to the defect center gradually. Statistical analysis illustrated that both subchondral bone volume and migration area percentage were highly correlated with the gross appearance Wayne score of repaired cartilage. Therefore, subchondral bone migration is related to cartilage repair for critical size osteochondral defects. Furthermore, the subchondral bone remodeling proceeds in a “flow like” manner and repaired cartilage with tidemark implies that the biphasic PEG/β-TCP composites fabricated by 3D printing provides a feasible strategy for osteochondral tissue engineering application.