The present study investigated the potential of a novel micropatterned substrate for neocartilage formation. Articular chondrocytes were cultured on poly(ε-caprolactone) materials whose surfaces were either flat or honeycomb-patterned. The latter was prepared using a novel self-organization technique, while the former, was prepared by spin-coating. The chondrocytes attached and proliferated on both surfaces. On the honeycomb films, chondrocytes were found at the top surface and encased within the 10 μm pores. Meanwhile, chondrocytes on the spin-coated surface flattened out. Accumulation of DNA and keratin sulphate was comparatively higher on the honeycomb films within the first 7 days. At their respective peaks, DNA concentration increased on the honeycomb and flat surfaces by approximately 210% and 400% of their day 1 values, respectively. However, cultures on the flat surface took longer to peak. Extracellular Matrix (ECM) concentrations peaked at 900% and 320% increases for the honeycomb and flat cultures. Type II collagen was upregulated on the honeycomb and flat surfaces by as much as 28% and 25% of their day 1 values, while aggrecan was downregulated with time, by 3.4% and 7.4%. These initial results demonstrate the potential usefulness of honeycomb-based scaffolds during early cultures neocartilage and soft tissue engineering.
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