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Time Course Evaluation of Reparative Cartilage With MR Imaging After Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the qualitative change in reparative cartilage after autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). Ten knees of 10 patients were studied. The signal intensities of reparative and normal cartilage were evaluated by fat-suppressed three-dimensional spoiled-gradient recalled (FS 3D-SPGR) MR imaging. The signal intensity (SI) index (signal intensity of reparative cartilage divided by that of normal cartilage) was defined and the change in SI index was investigated. Histological and biochemical evaluation was done at the second look arthroscopy. The SI index was at its lowest level immediately after ACI and increased with time to 9 months thereafter. After 9–12 months, the SI index settled to almost level and was maintained at that value for at least 2–3 years postoperatively. The average of the SI indexes after 12 months to the last examination was 74.2 ± 4.6 (range 64.2–82.8), which means signal intensity of reparative cartilage was maintained at a value lower than that of normal cartilage. The total ICRS score was 11.6 ± 2.3 points (mean ± SD). The GAG concentration was 107.9 ± 17.0 g/mg (mean ± SD) in normal cartilage and 65.9 ± 9.4 g/mg in reparative cartilage. The quality of reparative cartilage as hyaline cartilage was inferior to that of normal cartilage. In the present study, the time course change in the SI index indicates that the major maturation process of implanted chondrocytes neared completion in 9–12 months. Minor changes, such as matrix remodeling with reorganization of the collagen fibers in reparative cartilage, may continue, but an almost identical condition seemed to be maintained during the first 2–3 years of follow-up. SI index does not always reflect all properties of reparative cartilage but may be a useful parameter for noninvasive evaluation.

Keywords: Autologous chondrocyte implantation; Magnetic resonance imaging; Reparative cartilage; Signal intensity; Time course evaluation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, 260-8677 Japan, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, 263-8555 Japan 2: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, 260-8677 Japan 3: National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, 263-8555 Japan 4: Department of Radiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, 260-8677 Japan

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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