Team reaches milestone in effort to treat bone disorders

July 18, 2017 by Troy Fedderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Andrew Dudley (left) and Angela Pannier. Credit: Troy Fedderson | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A recent study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska Medical Center has reported progress toward the bioengineering of cartilage that could help treat disorders known to disrupt the normal development of bones.

Growth plate disorders alter the length and shape of long bones by affecting the of cartilage found at the ends of them. One of the most common genetic growth disorders – the cause of dwarfism – hinders the development of arm and relative to the head and trunk. Other growth plate disorders, which can also stem from trauma or the treatment of pediatric cancers, affect only specific bones.

Conventional treatment often involves breaking and resetting a bone, sometimes multiple times, during childhood and adolescence. But researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and UNMC have documented the first successful effort to establish communication between mature and immature cartilage cells, a necessary step for cartilage and bone growth.

"Our study represents an important step in the engineering of cartilage and is much different than other reports in the tissue engineering field," said Angela Pannier, associate professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "While others have focused on using mature components to build cartilage, we hypothesized that we needed to start with immature cells, and together with the right scaffolding, we could allow the cells to assemble and communicate."

The team reached the milestone by building a growth plate model in the laboratory. By working with mice, the team is seeking answers to detailed questions about how and under what conditions the cells' signaling networks will regulate .

"The hope is that of growth plate cartilage can help reduce the pain, suffering and cost of growth plate disorders," said Andrew Dudley, associate professor of genetics, cell biology and anatomy at UNMC. "Scientists have been able to produce in the laboratory, but the tissue doesn't grow and isn't mechanically strong. We've been able to stimulate the cells in a way to get very distinct zones of mature and that talk."

Pannier, Dudley and their colleagues reported their findings in the journal Tissue Engineering Part A.

Explore further: Cage-constrained growth of engineered cartilage reduces swelling and improves function

Related Stories

Cage-constrained growth of engineered cartilage reduces swelling and improves function

May 4, 2017
Researchers have shown that a novel cage constraint can prevent engineered cartilage from swelling during growth in culture, leading to better collagen stability and enhanced functional properties of the cartilage. The innovative ...

Gene mutation drives cartilage tumor formation

February 16, 2015
Duke Medicine researchers have shown how gene mutations may cause common forms of cartilage tumors.

New model enables analysis of tissue-engineered cartilage in lab by large animal testing

May 1, 2017
Researchers have developed a new model to analyze tissue engineered cartilage that allows for the use of a single method to assess functional tissue mechanics in cartilage constructs at all stages of development from the ...

Success in the 3-D bioprinting of cartilage

April 28, 2017
A team of researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy has managed to generate cartilage tissue by printing stem cells using a 3-D-bioprinter. The fact that the stem cells survived being printed in this manner is a success in itself. ...

Cells from cow knee joints used to grow new cartilage tissue in laboratory

January 21, 2016
In an effort to develop a method for cartilage tissue engineering, researchers at Umeå University in Sweden successfully used cartilage cells from cow knee joints. By creating a successful method with conditions conducive ...

Recommended for you

How the brain plays a role in rheumatoid arthritis inflammation

June 18, 2018
In patients with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, there has been limited understanding of how this inflammation affects the brain.

New 3-D imaging analysis technique could lead to improved arthritis treatment

June 18, 2018
An algorithm to monitor the joints of patients with arthritis, which could change the way that the severity of the condition is assessed, has been developed by a team of engineers, physicians and radiologists led by the University ...

Joint resolution: A link between Huntington's disease and rheumatoid arthritis

May 15, 2018
Using new analytic tools, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have decoded the epigenetic landscape for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a common ...

Get off the golf cart if you have knee osteoarthritis

April 28, 2018
From presidents to retirees, more than 17 million people over the age of 50 golf regularly. Knee osteoarthritis, which causes swelling, pain and difficulty moving the joint, is one of the leading causes of disability in this ...

How environmental pollutants and genetics work together in rheumatoid arthritis

April 19, 2018
It has been known for more than three decades that individuals with a particular version of a gene—human leukocyte antigen (HLA)—have an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis.

The bugs in your gut could make you weak in the knees

April 19, 2018
Bacteria in the gut, known as the gut microbiome, could be the culprit behind arthritis and joint pain that plagues people who are obese, according to a new study published today in JCI Insight.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.