Photo-Cross-Linked Scaffold with Kartogenin-Encapsulated Nanoparticles for Cartilage Regeneration

The regeneration of cartilage, an aneural and avascular tissue, is often compromised by its lack of innate abilities to mount a sufficient healing response. Kartogenin (KGN), a small molecular compound, can induce bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) into chondrocytes. The previous in vitro study showed that kartogenin also had a chondrogenesis effect on synovium derived mesenchymal stem cells (SMSCs). Herein, we present the effect of an ultraviolet-reactive, rapidly cross-linkable scaffold integrated with kartogenin-loaded nanoparticles using an innovational one-step technology. In vivo studies showed its potential role for cell homing, especially for recruiting the host’s endogenous cells, including BMSCs and SMSCs, without cell transplantation. Of note, the regenerated tissues were close to the natural hyaline cartilage based on the histological tests, specific markers analysis, and biomechanical tests. This innovative KGN release system makes the chondrogenesis efficient and persistent.