Nanofibrous hollow microspheres self-assembled from star-shaped polymers as injectable cell carriers for knee repair. Academic Article uri icon


  • To repair complexly shaped tissue defects, an injectable cell carrier is desirable to achieve an accurate fit and to minimize surgical intervention. However, the injectable carriers available at present have limitations, and are not used clinically for cartilage regeneration. Here, we report nanofibrous hollow microspheres self-assembled from star-shaped biodegradable polymers as an injectable cell carrier. The nanofibrous hollow microspheres, integrating the extracellular-matrix-mimicking architecture with a highly porous injectable form, were shown to efficiently accommodate cells and enhance cartilage regeneration, compared with control microspheres. The nanofibrous hollow microspheres also supported a significantly larger amount of, and higher-quality, cartilage regeneration than the chondrocytes-alone group in an ectopic implantation model. In a critical-size rabbit osteochondral defect-repair model, the nanofibrous hollow microspheres/chondrocytes group achieved substantially better cartilage repair than the chondrocytes-alone group that simulates the clinically available autologous chondrocyte implantation procedure. These results indicate that the nanofibrous hollow microspheres are an excellent injectable cell carrier for cartilage regeneration.

published proceedings

  • Nat Mater

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, X., Jin, X., & Ma, P. X.

citation count

  • 322

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Xiaohua||Jin, Xiaobing||Ma, Peter X

publication date

  • January 2011