Am J Sports Med. 2010 Sep; 38(9) : 1857-69. Epub 2010 May 27.
Repair of chronic osteochondral defects using predifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells in an ovine model.
BACKGROUND: The use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat osteochondral defects caused by sports injuries or disease is of particular interest. However, there is a lack of studies in large-animal models examining the benefits of chondrogenic predifferentiation in vitro for repair of chronic osteochondral defects.
HYPOTHESIS: Chondrogenic in vitro predifferentiation of autologous MSCs embedded in a collagen I hydrogel currently in clinical trial use for matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation facilitates the regeneration of a chronic osteochondral defect in an ovine stifle joint.
STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study.
METHODS: The optimal predifferentiation period of ovine MSCs within the type I collagen hydrogel in vitro was defined by assessment of several cellular and molecular biological parameters. For the animal study, osteochondral lesions (diameter 7 mm) were created at the medial femoral condyles of the hind legs in 10 merino sheep. To achieve a chronic defect model, implantation of the ovine MSCs/hydrogel constructs was not performed until 6 weeks after defect creation. The 40 defects were divided into 4 treatment groups: (1) chondrogenically predifferentiated ovine MSC/hydrogel constructs (preMSC-gels), (2) undifferentiated ovine MSC/hydrogel constructs (unMSC-gels), (3) cell-free collagen hydrogels (CF-gels), and (4) untreated controls (UCs). Evaluation followed after 6 months.
RESULTS: With regard to proteoglycan content, cell count, gel contraction, apoptosis, compressive properties, and progress of chondrogenic differentiation, a differentiation period of 14 days in vitro was considered optimal. After 6 months in vivo, the defects treated with preMSC-gels showed significantly better histologic scores with morphologic characteristics of hyaline cartilage such as columnarization and presence of collagen type II.
CONCLUSION: Matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation with predifferentiated MSCs may be a promising approach for repair of focal, chronic osteochondral defects.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The results suggest an encouraging method for future treatment of focal osteochondral defects to prevent progression to osteoarthritis.
PMID: 20508078 [PubMed – in process]