Ex vivo and in vivo characterization of cold preserved cartilage for cell transplantation
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Due to the inconvenient and invasive nature of chondrocyte transplantation, preserved cartilage has been recognized as an alternative source of chondrocytes for implantation. However, there are major concerns, in particular, the viability and quality of the chondrocytes. This study investigated the biochemistry and molecular characterization of chondrocytes isolated from preserved cartilage for purposes of transplantation. Ex vivo characterization was accomplished by storing human cartilage at either 4 or −80 °C in a preservation medium. Microscopic evaluation of the preserved cartilage was conducted after 1, 2, 3 and 6 weeks. The chondrocytes were isolated from the preserved cartilage and investigated for proliferation capacity and chondrogenic phenotype. Transplantation of chondrocytes from preserved cartilage into rabbit knees was performed for purposes of in vivo evaluation. The serum cartilage degradation biomarker (WF6 epitopes) was evaluated during the transplantation procedure. Human cartilage preserved for 1 week in a 10 % DMSO chondrogenic medium at 4 °C gave the highest chondrocyte viability. The isolated chondrocytes showed a high proliferative capacity and retained chondrogenic gene expression. Microscopic assessment of the implanted rabbit knees showed tissue regeneration and integration with the host cartilage. A decreased level of the serum biomarker after transplantation was evidence of in vivo repair by the implanted chondrocytes. These results suggest that cartilage preservation for 1 week in a 10 % DMSO chondrogenic medium at 4 °C can maintain proliferation capacity and the chondrogenic phenotype of human chondrocytes. These results can potentially be applied to in vivo allogeneic chondrocyte transplantation. Allogeneic chondrocytes from preserved cartilage would be expected to maintain their chondrogenic phenotype and to result in a high rate of success in transplanted grafts.
KeywordsCartilage preservation Chondrocyte survival Human chondrocyte Chondrocyte transplantation
We thank Dr. Robert G. Larma for his manuscript proofreading. The Faculty of Medicine Research Fund, Chiang Mai University (to DP) and Excellence Center Research Fund, CMU (to PP and PK) have jointly funded this study.
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