Cell and Tissue Banking

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 721–734 | Cite as

Ex vivo and in vivo characterization of cold preserved cartilage for cell transplantation

  • Wichaya Sriuttha
  • Nantawat Uttamo
  • Apisek Kongkaew
  • Jongkolnee Settakorn
  • Suchanan Rattanasalee
  • Prachya Kongtawelert
  • Dumnoensun Pruksakorn
  • Peraphan PothacharoenEmail author
Full Length Paper


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.


Cartilage 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wichaya Sriuttha
    • 1
  • Nantawat Uttamo
    • 2
  • Apisek Kongkaew
    • 3
  • Jongkolnee Settakorn
    • 4
  • Suchanan Rattanasalee
    • 4
  • Prachya Kongtawelert
    • 1
  • Dumnoensun Pruksakorn
    • 2
  • Peraphan Pothacharoen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Thailand Excellence Center for Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedics, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.Animal House, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  4. 4.Department of Pathology, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand

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