Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine scientists (WFIRM) have developed a new method to 3D bioprint fibrocartilage of the knee joint. In the future, the bioprinted cartilage could be used to restore knee function damaged by arthritis or injury. In fact, degeneration of meniscus tissue affects millions of patients each year, but besides surgery, no other available treatment options exist.

In the latest proof-of-concept study, the WFIRM scientists were able to 3D bioprint a hybrid tissue construct for cartilage regeneration by co-printing two specialized bioinks, a cell-laden gellan gum/fibrinogen composite bioink together with a silk fibroin methacrylate. The two bioinks were printed layer by layer to create a crosshatch pattern.

The constructs were implanted into a mouse subcutaneous implantation model for 10 weeks. The bioprinted hybrid constructs showed alignment of collagen fibers and formation of fibrocartilaginous tissue. The results demonstrate that the bioprinted mechanically reinforced hybrid construct offers a versatile and promising alternative for the production of fibrocartilage. However, a more extensive preclinical study will be needed to examine further the body’s response and the functional recovery of the joint with the use of this regenerative medicine treatment.

Reference: Chem. Mater. 2020, 32, 19, 8733–8746 Publication Date: September 25, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c03556