Cell-based therapy in the repair of osteochondral defects

Tissue Eng. 2003 Aug; 9(4) : 733-44.
Cell-based therapy in the repair of osteochondral defects: a novel use for adipose tissue.

Nathan S, Das De S, Thambyah A, Fen C, Goh J, Lee EH
Department of Orthopedics, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

Abstract
Mesenchymal stem cells are currently procured from periosteum and bone marrow. The procurement of stem cells from these sources is tedious and gives a low yield of cells. This study was aimed at circumventing these problems and allowing for a method that would be more acceptable in the clinical setting. Tissue for transplantation was harvested from a single New Zealand White rabbit. Cells were more readily obtained from adipose tissue than from bone marrow or periosteum. The present method also provided a better yield of cells through culture. In vitro studies were performed to assess the differentiation potential of these cells. Successful in vitro transformation into alternative mesenchymal cell lines including cardiomyocytes revealed these cells to have wide differentiation potential. Further characterization morphologically, immunohistochemically, and via gene transfection showed features consistent with mesenchymal stem cells. Cultured cells were then transplanted into defects created in the left medial femoral condyle. The femora were harvested at various intervals and the repair tissue was assessed. Gross osteochondral defect reconstitution and histological grading was superior to periosteum-derived stem cell repair and repair by native mechanisms. Biomechanically, the repair tissue approximated intact cartilage and was superior to osteochondral autografts and repair by innate mechanisms.

PMID: 13678450 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]