Synergistic Effect of TGF-β1 And BMP–7 on Chondrogenesis and Extracellular Matrix Synthesis: An In Vitro Study

Alper Gokce*, 1, Ibrahim Yilmaz2, Rifat Bircan3, Murat Tonbul1, Nevzat Selim Gokay4, Cigdem Gokce5
1 Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Namik Kemal University, School of Medicine, Tekirdag, Turkey
2 Tekirdag State Hospital, Turkish Republic Ministry of Health, Tekirdag, Turkey
3 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Science, Namik Kemal University, Tekirdag, Turkey
4 Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Namik Kemal University, School of Medicine, Tekirdag, Turkey
5 Community Health Center of Uskudar District, Turkish Republic Ministry of Health, Istanbul, Turkey

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© Gokce et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the TC Namik Kemal Universitesi Arastirma ve Uygulama Hastanesi 100. Yil Mahallesi Tunca Caddesi, Tekirdag 59030, Turkey; Tel: +902822505000; Fax: +902822509950; E-mail:



The purpose of the present study seeks to determine the signal timing of BMP–7 and TGF-β1 from a novel chitosan based hydrogel system that may affect chondrocyte proliferation resulting in the presence of a synergism seen conspicuously in consecutive controlled delivery.


Four groups of cultured chondrocytes were seeded on a novel designed chitosan based hydrogel. The hydrogel was left empty (control) in one group and loaded with BMP–7, TGF-β1 and their combination in the other groups, respectively. Hydrogel structure was analyzed with scanning electron microscope. The release kinetics of Growth Factors (GFs) was determined with ELISA. Chondrocyte viability and toxicity after being tested with MTS and collagen type II synthesis, were quantified with western blotting. Canonical regression analysis was used for measuring statistical evaluation.


Chitosan based hydrogel allowed controlled release of GFs in different time intervals for BMP–7 and TGF-β1. Double peak concentration gradient was found to be present in the group loaded with both GFs. In this group, substantially higher chondrocyte growth and collagen synthesis were also detected.


We concluded that, chitosan based hydrogel systems may be adjusted to release GFs consecutively during biodegradation at the layers of surface, which may increase the cell number and enhance collagen type II synthesis.

Keywords:: Chondrocyte culture, hydrogel, chitosan, controlled release, BMP-7, TGF-β1, cartilage.