Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 469, Issue 10, pp 2806–2816

Cell-based Meniscal Tissue Engineering: A Case for Synoviocytes

Symposium: Clinically Relevant Strategies for Treating Cartilage and Meniscal Pathology



Avascular meniscal injuries are largely incapable of healing; the most common treatment remains partial meniscectomy despite the risk of subsequent osteoarthritis. Meniscal responses to injury are partially mediated through synovial activity and strategies have been investigated to encourage healing through stimulating or transplanting adjacent synovial lining. However, with their potential for chondrogenesis, synovial fibroblast-like stem cells hold promise for meniscal cartilage tissue engineering.


Thus, specific purposes of this review were to (1) examine how the synovial intima and synoviomeniscal junction affect current meniscal treatment modalities; and (2) examine the components of tissue engineering (cells, scaffolds, bioactive agents, and bioreactors) in the specific context of how cells of synovial origin may be used for meniscal healing or regeneration.


An online bibliographic search through PubMed was performed in March 2010. Studies were subjectively evaluated and reviewed if they addressed the question posed. Fifty-four resources were initially retrieved, which offered information on the chondrogenic potential of synovial-based cells that could prove valuable for meniscal fibrocartilage engineering.


Based on the positive effects of adjoining synovium on meniscal healing as used in some current treatment modalities, the chondrogenic potential of fibroblast-like stem cells of synovial origin make this cell source a promising candidate for cell-based tissue engineering strategies.


The abundance of autologous synovial lining, its ability to regenerate, and the potential of synovial-derived stem cells to produce a wide spectrum of chondral matrix components make it an ideal candidate for future meniscal engineering investigations.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Missouri, Comparative Orthopaedic LaboratoryColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.University of Missouri, Veterinary Medical Teaching HospitalColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Oregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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