Agarose has been used as an experimental scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering research due to its biocompatibility with chondrocytes, support of cartilage tissue development, and ability to transmit mechanical stimuli [1–3]. Tissue engineering studies have demonstrated that the temporal application of transforming growth factor (TGF) β3 for only 2 weeks elicits rapid tissue development that results in mechanical properties approaching native values [4]. However, it is not known whether this response to a 2-week exposure to growth factors is unique to TGF-β3. Therefore, the present study characterizes the response of tissue engineered cartilage to the temporal application of the anabolic growth factors TGF-β1, TGF-β3, and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I).

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