Cells and Materials


A heterocyclic methacrylate polymer system, PEMA/THFMA, has shown potential as a biomaterial for cartilage repair in a rabbit model and has properties making it suitable for use clinically. The ability of the polymer system, PEMA/THFMA, and a related system, PEMA/HEMA, to support chondrocytes in vitro was assessed by scanning electron microscopy. Chondrocytes adhered to the surface of the PEMA/THFMA by day one, having a rounded morphology and clustered appearance opposed to the Thermanox® control, where the cells had spread out and become fibroblastic in appearance. The chondrocytes divided rapidly on the PEMA/ THFMA system by day three and had completely covered the surface by day seven. In contrast, chondrocytes did not adhere well to the more hydrophilic PEMA/ HEMA system. A few cells were seen on the surface by day one and by days three and seven, there was no evidence of cell growth or spreading across the surface.

In conclusion, the PEMA/THFMA system can support chondrocytes in vitro, whereas the PEMA/HEMA system does not.