A fresh osteochondral allograft is one of the most effective treatments for cartilage defects of the knee. Despite the clinical success, fresh osteochondral allografts have great limitations in relation to the short storage time that cartilage tissues can be well-preserved. Fresh osteochondral
grafts are generally stored in culture medium at 4°C. While the viability of articular cartilage stored in culture medium is significantly diminished within 1 week, appropriate serology testing to minimize the chances for the disease transmission requires a minimum of 2 weeks. (−)-Epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate
(EGCG) has differential effects on the proliferation of cancer and normal cells, thus a cytotoxic effect on various cancer cells, but a cytopreservative effect on normal cells. Therefore, a storage solution containing EGCG might extend the storage duration of articular cartilages. Rabbit osteochondral
allografts were performed with osteochondral grafts stored at 4°C in culture medium containing EGCG for 2 weeks and then the clinical effects were examined with macroscopic and histological assessment after 4 weeks. The cartilaginous structure of an osteochondral graft stored with EGCG
was well-preserved with high cell viability and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content of the extracellular matrix (ECM). After an osteochondral allograft, the implanted osteochondral grafts stored with EGCG also provided a significantly better retention of the articular cartilage with viability
and metabolic activity. These data suggest that EGCG can be an effective storage agent that allows long-term preservation of articular cartilage under cold storage conditions.
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