- This study examines the suitability of marine origin coral species, Porites lutea (POR) and the hydrozoan Millepora dichotoma (MIL), for use as novel three dimensional growth matrices in the field of articular cartilage tissue engineering. Therefore, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and chondrocytes were grown on the skeletal material obtained from each of these two organisms to investigate their potential use as three dimensional scaffolding for cartilage tissue growth. Chondrogenic induction of MSCs was achieved by addition of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and insulin growth factor-I (IGF-I). Cell adherence, proliferation, differentiation and tissue development were investigated through six weeks of culture. Cartilage tissue growth and chondrocytic phenotype maintenance of each cell type were examined by cell morphology, histochemical analyses, expression of collagen type II and quantitative measures of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content. The MSCs and the chondrocytes were shown good adherence to the scaffolds and maintenance of the chondrocytic phenotype in the initial stages of culture. However after two weeks of culture on MIL and three weeks on POR these cultures began to exhibit signs of further differentiation and phenotypic loss. The shown results indicated that POR was a better substrate for chondrocytes phenotype maintenance than MIL. We believe that surface modification of POR combined with mechanical stimuli will provide a suitable environment for chondrogenic phenotype maintenance. Further investigation of POR and other novel coralline biomatrices is indicated and warranted in the field of cartilage tissue engineering applications.