Osteoarthritis (OA) involves the degeneration of articular cartilage and subchondral bone. The capacity of articular cartilage to repair and regenerate is limited. A biodegradable, fibrous scaffold containing zinc oxide (ZnO) was fabricated and evaluated for osteochondral tissue engineering applications. ZnO has shown promise for a variety of biomedical applications but has had limited use in tissue engineering. Composite scaffolds consisted of ZnO nanoparticles embedded in slow degrading, polycaprolactone to allow for dissolution of zinc ions over time. Zinc has well-known insulin-mimetic properties and can be beneficial for cartilage and bone regeneration. Fibrous ZnO composite scaffolds, having varying concentrations of 1–10 wt.% ZnO, were fabricated using the electrospinning technique and evaluated for human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation along chondrocyte and osteoblast lineages. Slow release of the zinc was observed for all ZnO composite scaffolds. MSC chondrogenic differentiation was promoted on low percentage ZnO composite scaffolds as indicated by the highest collagen type II production and expression of cartilage-specific genes, while osteogenic differentiation was promoted on high percentage ZnO composite scaffolds as indicated by the highest alkaline phosphatase activity, collagen production, and expression of bone-specific genes. This study demonstrates the feasibility of ZnO-containing composites as a potential scaffold for osteochondral tissue engineering.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- mesenchymal stem cells
- osteochondral differentiation
- zinc oxide
- zinc oxide composite