Combining gene therapy approaches with tissue engineering procedures is an active area of translational research for the effective treatment of articular cartilage lesions, especially to target chondrogenic progenitor cells such as those derived from the bone marrow. This study evaluated the effect of genetically modifying concentrated human mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow to induce chondrogenesis by recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector gene transfer of the sex-determining region Y-type high-mobility group box 9 (SOX9) factor upon seeding in three-dimensional-woven poly(∈-caprolactone; PCL) scaffolds that provide mechanical properties mimicking those of native articular cartilage. Prolonged, effective SOX9 expression was reported in the constructs for at least 21 days, the longest time point evaluated, leading to enhanced metabolic and chondrogenic activities relative to the control conditions (reporter lacZ gene transfer or absence of vector treatment) but without affecting the proliferative activities in the samples. The application of the rAAV SOX9 vector also prevented undesirable hypertrophic and terminal differentiation in the seeded concentrates. As bone marrow is readily accessible during surgery, such findings reveal the therapeutic potential of providing rAAV-modified marrow concentrates within three-dimensional-woven PCL scaffolds for repair of focal cartilage lesions.
- cartilage repair, human bone-marrow aspirates, chondrogenesis, rAAV, SOX9, 3D-woven poly(∈-caprolactone) scaffolds