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Open Access Enhanced Early Tissue Regeneration After Matrix-Assisted Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation in Full Thickness Chondral Defects in a Minipig Model

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Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are an attractive cell source for new treatment strategies in regenerative medicine. This study investigated the potential effect of matrix assisted MSC transplantation for articular cartilage regeneration in a large-animal model 8 weeks postoperatively. MSCs from bone marrow aspirates of eight Goettingen minipigs were isolated and expanded prior to surgery. Articular cartilage defects of 5.4 mm were created bilaterally in the medial patellar groove without penetrating the subchondral bone plate. Defects were either left empty (n = 4), covered with a collagen type I/III membrane (n = 6) or additionally treated with autologous MSC transplantation (2 × 106; n = 6). After 8 weeks animals were euthanized and the defect area was assessed for its gross appearance. Histomorphological analysis of the repair tissue included semiquantitative scoring (O'Driscoll score) and quantitative histomorphometric analysis for its glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and collagen type II content. All membranes were found to cover the defect area 8 weeks postoperatively. Median defect filling was 115.8% (membrane), 117.8% (empty), and 100.4% (MSC), respectively (not significant). Histomorphological scoring revealed significantly higher values in MSC-treated defects (median 16.5) when compared to membrane treatment (median 9.5) or empty defects (median 11.5; p = 0.015 and p = 0.038). Histomorphometric analysis showed larger GAG/collagen type II-positive areas in the MSC-treated group (median 24.6%/29.5% of regeneration tissue) compared to 13.6%/33.1% (empty defects) and 1.7%/6.2% (membrane group; p = 0.066). Cell distribution was more homogeneous in MSC compared to membrane-only group, where cells were found mainly near the subchondral zone. In conclusion, autologous matrix-assisted MSC transplantation significantly increased the histomorphological repair tissue quality during early articular cartilage defect repair and resulted in higher GAG/collagen type II-positive cross-sectional areas of the regenerated tissue.

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Keywords: Cartilage defect; Cartilage repair; Collagen membrane; Mesenchymal stem cells; Minipig model

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Publication date: 2009-08-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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