The engineering of osteochondral interfaces remains a challenge. MicroRNAs (miRs) have emerged as significant tools to regulate the differentiation and proliferation of osteogenic and chondrogenic formation in the human musculoskeletal system. Here, we describe a novel approach to osteochondral reconstruction based on the three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting of miR-transfected adipose-derived stem cell (ADSC) spheroids to produce a heterotypic interface that addresses the intrinsic limitations of the traditional approach to inducing zonal differentiation via the use of diffusible cytokines. We evaluated the delivery of miR-148b for osteogenic differentiation and the codelivery of miR-140 and miR-21 for the chondrogenic differentiation of ADSC spheroids. Our results demonstrated that miR-transfected ADSC spheroids exhibited upregulated expression of osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation related gene and protein markers, and enhanced mineralization and cell proliferation compared to spheroids differentiated using a commercially-available differentiation medium. Upon confirmation of the osteogenic and chondrogenic potential of miR-transfected ADSC spheroids, using aspiration-assisted bioprinting, these spheroids were 3D bioprinted into a dual-layer heterotypic osteochondral interface with a stratified arrangement of distinct osteogenic and chondrogenic zones. The proposed approach holds great promise for the biofabrication of stratified tissues, not only for the osteochondral interfaces presented in this work, but also for other composite tissues and tissue interfaces, such as, but not limited to, the bone-tendon-muscle interface and craniofacial tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044104
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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