Early metabolite levels predict long-term matrix accumulation for chondrocytes in elastin-like polypeptide biopolymer scaffolds.
The development of cartilage tissue engineering scaffolds could greatly benefit from methods to evaluate the interactions of cells with scaffolds that are rapid, are nondestructive, and can be carried out at early culture times. Motivated by this rationale, the objective of the current study was to evaluate whether the concentration of metabolites in scaffold-cell cultures at early culture times could predict matrix synthesis in the same samples at longer culture times. Metabolite and matrix synthesis were measured for 16 different formulations of cell-laden elastin-like polypeptide hydrogels. Metabolites were measured at days 4 and 7 of culture, while matrix accumulation was evaluated at day 28. Four of the 16 formulations resulted in molar ratios of lactate:glucose near 2, indicating anaerobic metabolism of glucose, which resulted in collagen:glycosaminoglycan accumulation ratios near those of native tissue. Lactate and pyruvate concentrations were found to significantly correlate with both sulfated glycosaminoglycan and hydroxyproline accumulation, with better fits for the latter. Lactate was found to be the strongest predictor of both matrix components, suggesting that measuring this metabolite at very early culture times may be useful for evaluating the status of tissue engineering constructs in a rapid and nondestructive manner.
Nettles, DL; Chilkoti, A; Setton, LA
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