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Rabbit articular cartilage defects treated by allogenic chondrocyte transplantation

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Articular cartilage defects have a poor capacity for repair. Most of the current treatment options result in the formation of fibro-cartilage, which is functionally inferior to normal hyaline articular cartilage. We studied the effectiveness of allogenic chondrocyte transplantation for focal articular cartilage defects in rabbits. Chondrocytes were cultured in vitro from cartilage harvested from the knee joints of a New Zealand White rabbit. A 3 mm defect was created in the articular cartilage of both knees in other rabbits. The cultured allogenic chondrocytes were transplanted into the defect in the right knees and closed with a periosteal flap, while the defects in the left knees served as controls and were closed with a periosteal flap alone, without chondrocytes. Healing of the defects was assessed at 12 weeks by histological studies. Allogenic chondrocyte transplantation significantly increased the amount of newly formed repair tissue (P=0.04) compared with that found in the control knees. The histological quality score of the repair tissue was significantly better (P=0.05), with more hyaline characteristics in the knees treated with allogenic chondrocytes than in the control knees. Articular cartilage defects treated with allogenic chondrocyte transplantation result in better repair tissue formation with hyaline characteristics than those in control knees.


Nous avons étudié l’efficacité de la transplantation de chondrocytes allogènes pour des pertes de substances localisées chez le lapin. Une perte de substance de 3 mm a été crée au niveau des 2 genoux. Des chondrocytes ont été cultivés in vitro à partir de prélèvements fait sur les genoux de lapin blanc de Nouvelle Zélande. Les chondrocytes cultivés ont été transplantés dans le defect du genou droit et enfermés sous un lambeau périosté tandis que le genou gauche servait de contrôle avec un lambeau périosté sans chondrocyte. La cicatrisation cartilagineuse a été étudié histologiquement à 12 semaines. La transplantation de chondrocytes allogènes augmente significativement la quantité de tissu de réparation en comparant aux genoux de contrôle (p=0.04). Le score histologique est meilleur que dans le groupe de contrôle.

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This study was supported by the Fluid Research Fund from Christian Medical College, Vellore. We thank Dr. Sridharan and Sarah Ohandy for all their assistance. We thank Nithya N. for helping with statistics. We also thank Dr. Noel Walter for helping with histology.

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Correspondence to Samuel Chittaranjan.

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Boopalan, P.R.J.V.C., Sathishkumar, S., Kumar, S. et al. Rabbit articular cartilage defects treated by allogenic chondrocyte transplantation. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 30, 357–361 (2006).

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