Background: Approaches to auricular reconstruction have shown improved outcome when a basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) slow-release system and fibrin spraying are combined with biodegradable polymers. More complex, three-dimensional structures, such as those that replicate the human auricle, are often lost because of biodegradation of the synthetic scaffold.
Methods: To improve the mechanical strength of regenerated cartilage, the authors grafted canine autologous chondrocytes after seeding onto scaffolds made of a complex of polyglycolic acid and polypropylene, incorporating a slow-release bFGF system with a fibrin spray coating.
Results: Five weeks after grafting, thicker cartilage with increased bending stress was obtained with the slow-release bFGF. In a three–polyglycolic acid–layer construct sandwiched around polypropylene, simulating a three-dimensional auricular structure, greater cartilage regeneration and angiogenesis were found around the implant. Sox5-positive cells were identified, indicative of maturation of neocartilage with chondroblast proliferation.
Conclusion: These results support the usefulness of combining absorbable and nonabsorbable materials (polyglycolic acid and polypropylene) in composite scaffolds for autologous cartilage regeneration in a large-animal autograft model.