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Kuhlmann, Constanze; Schenck, Thilo L.; Aszodi, Attila; Giunta, Riccardo E. and Wiggenhauser, Paul Severin (2021): Zone-Dependent Architecture and Biochemical Composition of Decellularized Porcine Nasal Cartilage Modulate the Activity of Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells in Cartilage Regeneration. In: International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol. 22, No. 18, 9917

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Previous anatomical studies have shown different functional zones in human nasal septal cartilage (NC). These zones differ in respect to histological architecture and biochemical composition. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of these zones on the fate of stem cells from a regenerative perspective. Therefore, decellularized porcine septal cartilage was prepared and subjected to histological assessment to demonstrate its equivalence to human cartilage. Decellularized porcine NC (DPNC) exposed distinct surfaces depending on two different histological zones: the outer surface (OS), which is equivalent to the superficial zone, and the inner surface (IS), which is equivalent to the central zone. Human adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ASCs) were isolated from the abdominal fat tissue of five female patients and were seeded on the IS and OS of DPNC, respectively. Cell seeding efficiency (CSE), vitality, proliferation, migration, the production of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG) and chondrogenic differentiation capacity were evaluated by histological staining (DAPI, Phalloidin, Live-Dead), biochemical assays (alamarBlue(R), PicoGreen(R), DMMB) and the quantification of gene expression (qPCR). Results show that cell vitality and CSE were not influenced by DPNC zones. ASCs, however, showed a significantly higher proliferation and elevated expression of early chondrogenic differentiation, as well as fibrocartilage markers, on the OS. On the contrary, there was a significantly higher upregulation of hypertrophy marker MMP13 (p < 0.0001) and GAG production (p = 0.0105) on the IS, whereas cell invasion into the three-dimensional DPNC was higher in comparison to the OS. We conclude that the zonal-dependent distinct architecture and composition of NC modulates activities of ASCs seeded on DPNC. These findings might be used for engineering of cartilage substitutes needed in facial reconstructive surgery that yield an equivalent histological and functional structure, such as native NC.

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