A silk fibroin/chitosan scaffold in combination with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells to repair cartilage defects in the rabbit knee

  • Jiang DengEmail author
  • Rongfeng She
  • Wenliang Huang
  • Zhijun Dong
  • Gang Mo
  • Bin Liu


Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) were seeded in a three-dimensional scaffold of silk fibroin (SF) and chitosan (CS) to repair cartilage defects in the rabbit knee. Totally 54 rabbits were randomly assigned to BMSCs + SF/CS scaffold, SF/CS scaffold and control groups. A cylindrical defect was created at the patellofemoral facet of the right knee of each rabbit and repaired by scaffold respectively. Samples were prepared at 4, 8 and 12 weeks post-surgery for gross observation, hematoxylin–eosin and toluidine blue staining, type II collagen immunohistochemistry, Wakitani histology. The results showed that differentiated BMSCs proliferated well in the scaffold. In the BMSCs + SF/CS scaffold group, the bone defect was nearly repaired, the scaffold was absorbed and immunohistochemistry was positive. In the SF/CS scaffold alone group, fiber-like tissues were observed, the scaffold was nearly degraded and immunohistochemistry was weakly positive. In the control group, the defect was not well repaired and positive immunoreactions were not detected. Modified Wakitani scores were superior in the BMSCs + SF/CS scaffold group compared with those in other groups at 4, 8 and 12 weeks (P < 0.05). A SF/CS scaffold can serve as carrier for stem cells to repair cartilage defects and may be used for cartilage tissue engineering.


Silk Fibroin Cartilage Defect Cartilage Tissue Scaffold Material Normal Cartilage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Supported by the Science and Technology Program Foundation of Guizhou Province, No. [2009]2172.


  1. 1.
    Zhang HN, Li L, Leng P, Wang YZ, Lv CY. Uninduced adipose-derived stem cells repair the defect of full-thickness hyaline cartilage. Chin J Traumatol. 2009;12(2):92–7.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    McCarty RC, Xian CJ, Gronthos S, Zannettino AC, Foster BK. Application of autologous bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells to an ovine model of growth plate cartilage injury. Open Orthop J. 2010;4:204–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wang Y, Bella E, Lee CS, Migliaresi C, Pelcastre L, Schwartz Z, Boyan BD, Motta A. The synergistic effects of 3-D porous silk fibroin matrix scaffold properties and hydrodynamic environment in cartilage tissue regeneration. Biomaterials. 2010;31(17):4672–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Correia CR, Moreira-Teixeira LS, Moroni L, Reis RL, van Blitterswijk CA, Karperien M, Mano JF. Chitosan scaffolds containing hyaluronic acid for cartilage tissue engineering. Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2011;17(7):717–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bhumiratana S, Grayson WL, Castaneda A, Rockwood DN, Gil ES, Kaplan DL, Vunjak-Novakovic G. Nucleation and growth of mineralized bone matrix on silk-hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds. Biomaterials. 2011;32(11):2812–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chung TW, Chang YL. Silk fibroin/chitosan-hyaluronic acid versus silk fibroin scaffolds for tissue engineering: promoting cell proliferations in vitro. Mater Sci Mater Med. 2010;21(4):1343–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bhardwaj N, Nguyen QT, Chen AC, Kaplan DL, Sah RL, Kundu SC. Potential of 3-D tissue constructs engineered from bovine chondrocytes/silk fibroin–chitosan for in vitro cartilage tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 2011;32(25):5773–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Silva SS, Motta A, Rodrigues MT, Pinheiro AF, Gomes ME, Mano JF, Reis RL, Migliaresi C. Novel genipin-cross-linked chitosan/silk fibroin sponges for cartilage engineering strategies. Biomacromolecules. 2008;9(10):2764–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Huang WL, Deng J, Yuan SQ, et al. Investigation of silk fibroin/chitosan composite cartilage tissue-engineered scaffold. Zunyi Yixueyuan Xuebao. 2008;31(6):581–3.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Huang YX, Ren J, Chen C, Ren TB, Zhou XY. Preparation and properties of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA)/nano-hydroxyapatite(NHA) scaffolds by thermally induced phase separation and rabbit MSCs culture on scaffolds. J Biomater Appl. 2008;22:409–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wakitani S, Goto T, Young RG, Mansour JM, Goldberg VM, Caplan AI. Repair of large full-thickness articular cartilage defects with allograft articular chondrocytes embedded in a collagen gel. Tissue Eng. 1998;4(4):429–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cosden RS, Lattermann C, Romine S, Gao J, Voss SR, MacLeod JN. Intrinsic repair of full-thickness articular cartilage defects in the axolotl salamander. Osteoarthr Cartil. 2011;19(2):200–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Guo WS, Li ZR, Cheng LM, Wang RD. The effect of subchondral bone defect in femoral head on structure and metabolism of article cartilage. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2008;88(39):2795–8.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yu FY, Lu SB, Zhao B, Xu WJ, Huang LH, Yuan M, Sun MX, Zhang WT. Joint resurfacing using allograft chondrocytes embedded in alginate gel. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2006;86(13):886–90.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chen JP, Su CH. Surface modification of electrospun PLLA nanofibers by plasma treatment and cationized gelatin immobilization for cartilage tissue engineering. Acta Biomater. 2011;7(1):234–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shanti RM, Janjanin S, Li WJ, Nesti LJ, Mueller MB, Tzeng MB, Tuan RS. In vitro adipose tissue engineering using an electrospun nanofibrous scaffold. Ann Plast Surg. 2008;61(5):566–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gupta V, Davis G, Gordon A, Altman AM, Reece GP, Gascoyne PR, Mathur AB. Endothelial and stem cell interactions on dielectrophoretically aligned fibrous silk fibroin–chitosan scaffolds. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2010;94(2):515–23.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Altman AM, Gupta V, Ríos CN, Alt EU, Mathur AB. Adhesion, migration and mechanics of human adipose-tissue-derived stem cells on silk fibroin–chitosan matrix. Acta Biomater. 2010;6(4):1388–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Zang M, Zhang Q, Davis G, Huang G, Jaffari M, Ríos CN, Gupta V, Yu P, Mathur AB. Perichondrium directed cartilage formation in silk fibroin and chitosan blend scaffolds for tracheal transplantation. Acta Biomater. 2011;7(9):3422–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jin XH, Yang L, Duan XJ, Xie B, Li Z, Tan HB. In vivo MR imaging tracking of supermagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticle-labeled bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells injected into intra-articular space of knee joints: experiment with rabbit. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2007;87(45):3213–8.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Xie J, Han Z, Naito M, Maeyama A, Kim SH, Kim YH, Matsuda T. Articular cartilage tissue engineering based on a mechano-active scaffold made of poly(l-lactide-co-epsilon-caprolactone): in vivo performance in adult rabbits. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2010;94(1):80–8.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mimura T, Imai S, Okumura N, Li L, Nishizawa K, Araki S, Ueba H, Kubo M, Mori K, Matsusue Y. Spatiotemporal control of proliferation and differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells recruited using collagen hydrogel for repair of articular cartilage defects. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2011;98B(2):360–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiang Deng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rongfeng She
    • 2
  • Wenliang Huang
    • 1
  • Zhijun Dong
    • 1
  • Gang Mo
    • 1
  • Bin Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopedicsThird Affiliated Hospital of Zunyi Medical CollegeZunyiChina
  2. 2.Department of OrthodonticsGuizhou Provincial People’s HospitalGuiyangChina

Personalised recommendations