Methylsulfonylmethane-loaded electrospun poly(lactide-co-glycolide) mats for cartilage tissue engineering
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is popularly used for the therapy of arthritic and rheumatic diseases but seldom in tissue engineering applications for cartilage regeneration. In this study, biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) fibrous mats containing MSM with different doping levels were fabricated by electrospinning. The MSM-loaded mats were interconnected with smooth, uniform micro- and nano-fibers. In vitro drug release of MSM-loaded mats and the biological activity for chondrocytes were investigated. The results showed that the total MSM release of 0.01 wt%, 0.1 wt%, 1 wt% and 10 wt% MSM/PLGA mats within 48 hours were 83.5%, 80.7%, 72.2%, and 51.5%, respectively. Because of the excellent bioactivity of MSM, the MSM-loaded mats showed much better cell proliferation and ECM formation ability than that of the PLGA mat. Among them, the 0.1 wt% MSM/PLGA mat showed the best cell proliferation. More importantly, the MSM/PLGA mats, especially for the 10 wt% group, also promoted extracellular matrix (ECM) formation, the cartilage related gene expression of collagen type II, aggrecan, and collagen type I, and cartilage specific protein expression of collagen type II. Together, findings from this study have revealed that the electrospun MSM-loaded PLGA mat is a promising candidate for cartilage regeneration.