Microencapsulated rabbit adipose stem cells initiate tissue regeneration in a rabbit ear defect model

Shirae K. Leslie, David J. Cohen, Sharon L. Hyzy, Christopher R. Dosier, Anthony Nicolini, Janina Sedlaczek, Zvi Schwartz, Barbara D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cell-based tissue engineering can promote cartilage tissue regeneration, but cell retention in the implant site post-delivery is problematic. Alginate microbeads containing adipose stem cells (ASCs) pretreated with chondrogenic media have been used successfully to regenerate hyaline cartilage in critical size defects in rat xiphoid suggesting that they may be used to treat defects in elastic cartilages such as the ear. To test this, we used microbeads made with low viscosity, high mannuronate medical grade alginate using a high electrostatic potential, and a calcium cross linking solution containing glucose. Microbeads containing rabbit ASCs (rbASCs) were implanted bilaterally in 3 mm critical size midcartilage ear defects of six skeletally mature male New Zealand White rabbits (empty defect; microbeads without cells; microbeads with cells; degradable microbeads with cells; and autograft). Twelve weeks post-implantation, regeneration was assessed by microCT and histology. Microencapsulated rbASCs cultured in chondrogenic media expressed mRNAs for aggrecan, Type II collagen, and Type X collagen. Histologically, empty defects contained fibrous tissue; microbeads without cells were still present in defects and were surrounded by fibrous tissue; nondegradable beads with rbASCs initiated cartilage regeneration; degradable microbeads with cells produced immature bone-like tissue, also demonstrated by microCT; and autografts appeared as normal auricular cartilage but were not fully integrated with the tissue surrounding the defect. Elastin, the hallmark of auricular cartilage, was not evident in the neocartilage. This delivery system offers the potential for regeneration of auricular cartilage, but vascularity of the treatment site and use of factors that induce elastin must be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1742-1753
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • alginates
  • chondrogenesis
  • ear cartilage
  • microspheres
  • rabbits
  • regeneration
  • stem cells
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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