Co-culture of adipose-derived stem cells and chondrocytes on three-dimensionally printed bioscaffolds for craniofacial cartilage engineering

Robert J. Morrison, Hassan B. Nasser, Khaled N. Kashlan, David A. Zopf, Derek J. Milner, Colleen L. Flanangan, Matthew B. Wheeler, Glenn E. Green, Scott J. Hollister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: Reconstruction of craniofacial cartilagenous defects are among the most challenging surgical procedures in facial plastic surgery. Bioengineered craniofacial cartilage holds immense potential to surpass current reconstructive options, but limitations to clinical translation exist. We endeavored to determine the viability of utilizing adipose-derived stem cell-chondrocyte co-culture and three-dimensional (3D) printing to produce 3D bioscaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering. We describe a feasibility study revealing a novel approach for cartilage tissue engineering with in vitro and in vivo animal data. Methods: Porcine adipose-derived stem cells and chondrocytes were isolated and co-seeded at 1:1, 2:1, 5:1, 10:1, and 0:1 experimental ratios in a hyaluronic acid/collagen hydrogel in the pores of 3D-printed polycaprolactone scaffolds to form 3D bioscaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering. Bioscaffolds were cultured in vitro without growth factors for 4 weeks and then implanted into the subcutaneous tissue of athymic rats for an additional 4 weeks before sacrifice. Bioscaffolds were subjected to histologic, immunohistochemical, and biochemical analysis. Results: Successful production of cartilage was achieved using a co-culture model of adipose-derived stem cells and chondrocytes without the use of exogenous growth factors. Histology demonstrated cartilage growth for all experimental ratios at the post–in vivo time point confirmed with type II collagen immunohistochemistry. There was no difference in sulfated-glycosaminoglycan production between experimental groups. Conclusion: Tissue-engineered cartilage was successfully produced on 3D-printed bioresorbable scaffolds using an adipose-derived stem cell and chondrocyte co-culture technique. This potentiates co-culture as a solution for several key barriers to a clinically translatable cartilage tissue engineering process. Level of Evidence: NA. Laryngoscope, 128:E251–E257, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E251-E257
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Auricular reconstruction
  • anotia
  • computer-aided design
  • computer-aided manufacturing
  • craniofacial reconstruction
  • microtia
  • nasal reconstruction
  • three-dimensional printing
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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