Juha Prittinen

Studies on various culture systems for chondrocytes and osteoblasts



Professor Minna Kellomäki, Tampere University of Technology, Finland


Docent Niko Moritz, University of Turku, Finland

Professor Margareta Molin Thoren, University of Umeå, Sweden

Docent Paul Kingham, University of Umeå, Sweden


Professor Mikko Lammi, University of Umeå, Sweden

Docent Chengjuan Qu, University of Umeå, Sweden

Articles of the thesis

Osteoarthritis and osteochondral defects are ailments that are increasing in frequency as the lifespan of the population increases and sedentary lifestyle becomes more common. Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes the progressive degeneration of articular surfaces and the underlying bone. Accidents and injuries can cause osteochondral defects similar to osteoarthritis. In both cases the structure of the articular cartilage fails, leading to pain and disability. Articular cartilage has a naturally poor ability to regenerate since there is no vasculature and it is aneural. The sparse chondrocytes mainly act to maintain the healthy extracellular matrix. Once the defect is severe enough, a surgical intervention becomes necessary. For small defects and young patients, a cell-based treatment can be used, whereas for larger defects and severe osteoarthritis a partial or whole joint arthroplasty is performed. Methods to repair osteochondral defects have been improving over the years as the inter-disciplinary understanding of joints, and what is required to repair them, has increased. However, there are still issues to solve in order to achieve consistently good results in both joint replacement and repair of cartilage. The main issue faced with current techniques used for joint replacement is poor integration of the artificial joint, leading to loosening at the bone interface over time, while cartilage repair techniques face the problem of generating mechanically inferior fibrocartilage. It is known that surface chemistry and structures at micro- and nanoscale influence cell behaviour, which can be utilised to guide their attachment, proliferation and phenotype. Scaffold-free approaches and mechanical stimulation have previously given promising results in generating articular neocartilage.

   This thesis aims at exploring tools and solutions to the problems involved in implant integration, chondrocyte expansion and neocartilage tissue engineering. We hypothesised that 1) ultra-short pulsed laser deposition can be used to create biocompatible coatings; 2) micropillars with nanoscale features can improve the maintenance of the chondrocyte phenotype in culture and 3) hypergravity can aid in the production of more native-like neocartilage constructs.

   Our studies showed that ultra-short pulsed laser ablation can be used to create various surfaces for studying cell behaviour. Cell viability was slightly higher on a rough titanium oxide, whereas the cell area was significantly smaller on rough titanium oxide, indicating a lower amount of focal adhesions. Nanopatterned microstructures were not capable of maintaining the chondrocyte phenotype in culture, but they were not disadvantageous either. Hypergravity might help in creating a native-like distribution of collagen and proteoglycans. The constructs were more uniform in shape, but biomechanically the constructs were not different from non-centrifuged controls.

  1. Qu C, Myllymaa S, Prittinen J, Koistinen AP, Lappalainen R, Lammi MJ: Osteoblast behavior on various ultra short pulsed laser deposited surface coatings. Mater Sci Eng C 33(3): 1676-1682, 2013 [Pubmed] [Full text]

  2. Prittinen J, Jiang Y, Ylärinne JH, Pakkanen TA, Lammi MJ, Qu C: Chondrocyte behavior on nanostructured micropillar polypropylene and polystyrene surfaces. Mater Sci Eng C 43: 424-431, 2014 [Pubmed] [Full text]

  3. Prittinen J, Ylärinne J, Piltti J, Karhula S, Rieppo L, Ojanen P, Korhonen RK, Saarakkala S, Lammi MJ, Qu C: Effect of centrifugal force on the development of articular neocartilage with bovine primary chondrocytes. Cell Tissue Res 375(3): 629-639, 2019 [Pubmed] [Full text]

Related articles

  1. Lammi MJ, Piltti J, Prittinen J, Qu C: Challenges in fabrication of tissue-engineered cartilage with correct cellular colonization and extracellular matrix assembly. Int J Mol Sci 19(9): 2700, 2018 [Pubmed] [Full text]

Last updated March 7, 2019