One of the main research fields related to tissue engineer aims to obtain biomimetics materials able to stimulate cartilage regeneration using materials similar in structure and composition to this tissue, composed basically by cells called chondrocytes and extracellular matrix. These biomimetic materials must stimulate cell viability and function maintenance also with controlled rage of biodegradability. In this sense, collagen is presented as a potential candidate for hydrogels preparation being one of the main components of cartilage. The addition of sulfated glycosaminoglycans associated to collagen can further improve the mimicry of the extracellular environment, stimulating chondrocytes response. Although, chondroitin sulfate is one of the main sulfated glycosaminoglycans that compose the cartilaginous structure, this compound has some undesirable characteristics in the preparation of biomaterials, such as expensive cost, obtaining from non-renewable sources and rheological properties that difficult the formation and stability of hydrogels. Therefore, the sulfated polysaccharide kappa-carrageenan represents a lower cost alternative, with chemical and structural characteristics similar to chondroitin sulfate, however, with better gelling properties, in addition to its ability to promote cell adhesion. Therefore, this project aims to compare the mechanical properties and chondrocytes culture response of type II collagen added of carrageenan hydrogels. The effect of the mixture will be compared with pure collagen matrices and collagen added of chondroitin sulfate matrices. This effect will be analyzed based on the rheological properties of gels and membranes such as viscosity, Young's modulus and simulated body fluid degradability assay. The materials will be tested and compared regarding the stimulation of extracellular matrix expression by in vitro cultured chondrocytes. As result, it is expected to this project to obtain biomaterials containing type II collagen and kappa-carrageenan with controllable rheological properties, capable to improve the stimulation of collagen expression by chondrocytes compared to pure type II collagen and chondroitin sulfate-based biomaterials.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: