Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 385–397

The Effect of Osteochondral Regeneration Using Polymer Constructs and Continuous Passive Motion Therapy in the Lower Weight-Bearing Zone of Femoral Trocheal Groove in Rabbits


  • Nai-Jen Chang
    • Institute of Biomedical EngineeringNational Cheng Kung University
  • Chih-Chan Lin
    • Laboratory Animal Center, Department of Medical ResearchChi-Mei Medical Center
  • Chien-Feng Li
    • Division of Clinical Pathology, Department of PathologyChi-Mei Medical Center
  • Kai Su
    • Division of Bioengineering and Biomedical EngineeringNanyang Technological University
    • Institute of Biomedical EngineeringNational Cheng Kung University
    • Medical Device Innovation CenterNational Cheng Kung University

DOI: 10.1007/s10439-012-0656-7

Cite this article as:
Chang, N., Lin, C., Li, C. et al. Ann Biomed Eng (2013) 41: 385. doi:10.1007/s10439-012-0656-7


Remedying patellofemoral osteochondral defects using clinical therapy remains challenging. Construct-based and cell-based regenerative medicine with in vitro physical stimuli has been progressively implemented. However, the effect of physical stimuli in situ in knee joints with degradable constructs is still not well-documented. Therefore, we studied whether it was practical to achieve articular cartilage repair using a poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) construct in addition to early short-term continuous passive motion (CPM) for treatment of full-thickness osteochondral defects in the lower-weigh bearing (LWB) zone of the femoral trocheal groove. Twenty-six rabbits were randomly allocated into either intermittent active motion (IAM) or CPM treatment groups with or without PLGA constructs, termed PLGA construct-implanted (PCI) and empty defect knee models, respectively. Gross observation, histology, inflammatory cells, which were identified using H&E staining, total collagen and alignment, studied qualitatively using Masson’s trichrome staining, glycosaminoglycan (GAG), identified using Alcian blue staining, and newly formed bone, observed using micro-CT, were evaluated at 4 and 12 weeks after surgery. Repair of osteochondral defects in the PCI-CPM group was more promising than all other groups. The better osteochondral defect repair in the PCI-CPM group corresponded to smooth cartilage surfaces, no inflammatory reaction, hyaline cartilaginous tissues composition, sound collagen alignment with positive collagen type II expression, higher GAG content, mature bone regeneration with osteocyte, clear tidemark formation, and better degradation of PLGA. In summary, the use of a simple PLGA construct coupled with passive motion promotes positive healing and may be a promising clinical intervention for osteochondral regeneration in LWB defects.


CartilageBiomaterialRegenerative medicinePhysical therapyAnimal model

Supplementary material

10439_2012_656_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (521 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 522 kb)

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© Biomedical Engineering Society 2012