Document Type



Conventional microcarriers used for expansion of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) require detachment and separation of the cells from the carrier prior to use in clinical applications for regeneration of articular cartilage, and the carrier can cause undesirable phenotypic changes in the expanded cells. This work describes a novel approach to expand hMSCs on biomimetic carriers based on adult or fetal decellularized bovine articular cartilage that supports tissue regeneration without the need to detach the expanded cells from the carrier. In this approach, the fetal or adult bovine articular cartilage was minced, decellularized, freeze-dried, ground, and sieved to produce articular cartilage microgels (CMGs) in a specified size range. Next, the hMSCs were expanded on CMGs in a bioreactor in basal medium to generate hMSC-loaded CMG microgels (CMG-MSCs). Then, the CMG-MSCs were suspended in sodium alginate, injected in a mold, crosslinked with calcium chloride, and incubated in chondrogenic medium as an injectable cellular construct for regeneration of articular cartilage. The expression of chondrogenic markers and compressive moduli of the injectable CMG-MSCs/alginate hydrogels incubated in chondrogenic medium were higher compared to the hMSCs directly encapsulated in alginate hydrogels.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Jabbari, E., & Sepahvandi, A. (2022). Decellularized Articular Cartilage Microgels as Microcarriers for Expansion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Gels, 8(3), 148.


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (