Dental mesenchymal stem cells encapsulated in an alginate hydrogel co-delivery microencapsulation system for cartilage regeneration

Alireza Moshaverinia, Xingtian Xu, Chider Chen, Kentaro Akiyama, Malcolm L. Snead, Songtao Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Dental-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising candidates for cartilage regeneration, with a high capacity for chondrogenic differentiation. This property helps make dental MSCs an advantageous therapeutic option compared to current treatment modalities. The MSC delivery vehicle is the principal determinant for the success of MSC-mediated cartilage regeneration therapies. The objectives of this study were to: (1) develop a novel co-delivery system based on TGF-β1 loaded RGD-coupled alginate microspheres encapsulating periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) or gingival mesenchymal stem cells (GMSCs); and (2) investigate dental MSC viability and chondrogenic differentiation in alginate microspheres. The results revealed the sustained release of TGF-β1 from the alginate microspheres. After 4 weeks of chondrogenic differentiation in vitro, PDLSCs and GMSCs as well as human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMMSCs) (as positive control) revealed chondrogenic gene expression markers (Col II and Sox-9) via qPCR, as well as matrix positively stained by Toluidine Blue and Safranin-O. In animal studies, ectopic cartilage tissue regeneration was observed inside and around the transplanted microspheres, confirmed by histochemical and immunofluorescent staining. Interestingly, PDLSCs showed more chondrogenesis than GMSCs and hBMMSCs (p < 0.05). Taken together, these results suggest that RGD-modified alginate microencapsulating dental MSCs make a promising candidate for cartilage regeneration. Our results highlight the vital role played by the microenvironment, as well as value of presenting inductive signals for viability and differentiation of MSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9343-9350
Number of pages8
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Alginate hydrogel
  • Cartilage regeneration
  • Dental mesenchymal stem cells
  • RGD tripeptide
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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