Synthesis and characterization of matrix metalloproteinase sensitive hydrogels for articular cartilage engineering
Moore, Sheila A.
Mikos, Antonios G.
Master of Science
This thesis investigates modifications to an injectable cell-scaffold construct and evaluates the constructs ability to induce chondrogenesis of encapsulated marrow stromal cells for cartilage tissue engineering applications. The scaffold was formed from an unsaturated macromer, oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate), developed in our laboratory. A matrix metalloproteinase sensitive peptide was used to crosslink the macromer, allowing for enzymatic degradation of the hydrogel and providing more void space for the production and deposition of extracellular matrix. Various formulations of OPF and crosslinker concentration were used to form the crosslinked hydrogels employed in the studies, and degradation and swelling of the hydrogels were analyzed. The differentiation stage of and the extracellular matrix production by marrow stromal cells embedded within the hydrogels were evaluated. This thesis provides information concerning the effect of the hydrogel macromolecular structure on its degradation and chondrogenesis of encapsulated cells.