A recent publication from A. Khader et al. in the Biotechnol Bioeng Journal demonstrated how biodegradable zinc oxide composited scaffolds can promote osteochondral differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells as confirmed by Chondrex, Inc.’s Type I and Type II Collagen Detection Kits (1).
Zinc is an essential trace element whose biological role includes many physiological processes and the make-up of many enzymes and other proteins. Zinc oxide (ZnO) is an inorganic compound deemed a biodegradable and biocompatible material which can be safely used in most food and drugs. ZnO nanoparticles are often utilized for tissue engineering applications because slow zinc dissolution from a composite scaffold can be advantageous for extracellular matrix (ECM) development in bone and cartilage regeneration technologies. The beneficial effect of ZnO in polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds was confirmed by analyzing type I and type II collagen levels in the developing ECMs.
Mesenchymal stem cells were cultured on PCL scaffolds containing 0, 1, 2.5, 5, and 10% ZnO for 28 days. Within the different conditions, the 2.5% ZnO composite scaffold produced the highest level of type II collagen, a marker of mature hyaline cartilage, while also producing the lowest level of type I collagen which is associated with immature chondrocytes. In addition to collagen analysis, effective ECM development was analyzed by evaluating its cell numbers, glycosaminoglycan levels, as well as several gene expression levels.
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In order to study the physiological and pathological turnover of the ECM and its components in tissue and cell culture samples, Chondrex Inc. provides assay kits to analyze the levels of total and individual types of collagen, reagents for collagen solubilization, GAG assays, and DNA assays. Please refer to Chondrex, Inc’s website for more information.