Effect of growth factors on cell proliferation, matrix deposition, and morphology of human nasal septal chondrocytes cultured in monolayer

Jeremy D. Richmon, August B. Sage, Elliot Shelton, Barbara L. Schumacher, Robert L. Sah, Deborah Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Tissue engineering of septal cartilage provides ex vivo growth of cartilage from a patient's own septal chondrocytes for use in craniofacial reconstruction. To become clinically applicable, it is necessary to rapidly expand a limited population of donor chondrocytes and then stimulate the production of extracellular matrix on a biocompatible scaffold. The objective of this study was to determine favorable serum-free culture conditions for proliferation of human septal chondrocytes using various concentrations and combinations of four growth factors. Study Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled study. Methods: Nasal septal chondrocytes from six patient donors were isolated by enzymatic digestion and expanded in monolayer culture in both serum-free media (SFM) and 2% fetal bovine serum (FBS). Both of these groups were exposed to varying concentrations and combinations of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 both at 1, 5, and 25 ng/mL, and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2 and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, both at 5, 25, and 125 ng/mL in the medium during the expansion phase. Cell morphology was assessed throughout the culture duration. After 7 days of monolayer growth, cultures were assessed for cellularity and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content. Results: The addition of low-dose FBS in culture media consistently led to significantly greater cell proliferation and matrix deposition than the SFM cell cultures. FGF-2 and TGF-β1 both alone and in combination led to the greatest proliferative effect compared with the other growth factors. In contrast, BMP-2 and IGF-1 led to the least cell proliferation although was most effective in retaining chondrocyte cell morphology. Conclusions: With the addition of TGF-β1 and FGF-2 to culture media, the concentration of serum can be greatly decreased and possibly eliminated altogether without jeopardizing cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1553-1560
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • BMP
  • Cartilage
  • Engineering
  • FGF
  • Growth factors
  • Human
  • IGF
  • Nasal
  • Septal
  • Serum
  • TGF
  • Tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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