Mechanical and biochemical characterisation of a articular cartilage based dECM hydrogel
In this study we present a photocrosslinkable and layerable hydrogel based on decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) intended for in vitromodels of cartilage tissue formation. dECM can provide cellular environments that are close to the native tissue since most of the natural ECMcomponents are still present. As a photocrosslinkable hydrogel they offer a good control of mechanical properties and enable the formation of gradients. The study of cartilage tissue formation in mechanical gradients as in vitro models might ultimately lead to improved scaffold design and new cartilage repair strategies. Here, bovine articular cartilage was decellularized, digested and methacrylated to yield a photocrosslinkable hydrogel. This gel was thenmechanically and biochemically characterized. Finally, optimisation strategies and future use in biomimicking the zonal structure of native articular cartilage with dECM based hydrogel is discussed.