Homologous structure-function relationships between native fibrocartilage and tissue engineered from MSC-seeded nanofibrous scaffolds

Nandan L. Nerurkar, Woojin Han, Robert L. Mauck, Dawn M. Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Understanding the interplay of composition, organization and mechanical function in load-bearing tissues is a prerequisite in the successful engineering of tissues to replace diseased ones. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) seeded on electrospun scaffolds have been successfully used to generate organized tissues that mimic fibrocartilages such as the knee meniscus and the annulus fibrosus of the intervertebral disc. While matrix deposition has been observed in parallel with improved mechanical properties, how composition, organization, and mechanical function are related is not known. Moreover, how this relationship compares to that of native fibrocartilage is unclear. Therefore, in the present work, functional fibrocartilage constructs were formed from MSC-seeded nanofibrous scaffolds, and the roles of collagen and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) in compressive and tensile properties were determined. MSCs deposited abundant collagen and GAG over 120 days of culture, and these extracellular molecules were organized in such a way that they performed similar mechanical functions to their native roles: collagen dominated the tensile response while GAG was important for compressive properties. GAG removal resulted in significant stiffening in tension. A similar stiffening response was observed when GAG was removed from native inner annulus fibrosus, suggesting an interaction between collagen fibers and their surrounding extrafibrillar matrix that is shared by both engineered and native fibrocartilages. These findings strongly support the use of electrospun scaffolds and MSCs for fibrocartilage tissue engineering, and provide insight on the structure-function relations of both engineered and native biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrospinning
  • Extrafibrillar matrix
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Structure-function
  • Tensile properties


Dive into the research topics of 'Homologous structure-function relationships between native fibrocartilage and tissue engineered from MSC-seeded nanofibrous scaffolds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this