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Minerva Ortopedica e Traumatologica 2008 April;59(2):87-98


language: English

In vitro study of chondrocytes migration from minced cartilage explants in a mixed scaffold

Giacalone F. 1, Marmotti A. 1, Cravino M. 1, Tarone G. 2, Rossi R. 1, Castoldi F. 1

1 Orthopaedics and Traumatology Unit Mauriziano Hospital, Turin, Italy 2 Universitary Department of Genetics Biology and Biochemistry Mauriziano Hospital, Turin, Italy


Aim. The aim of this study was to demonstrate in vitro the chondrocyte ability of cartilage fragments to migrate into an original-made scaffold: this feature is the experimental basis for the development of a new “one-stage” procedure for cartilage repair.
Methods. The study design included: preparation of 30 scaffolds made of hyaluronic acid (Synvisc or Hyaff-11), fibrin glue and platelet-rich plasma; culture, within the scaffolds, of human cartilage fragments harvested during interventions of total hip or knee replacement or anterior ligament reconstruction; histological analysis of the specimens at one and two months.
Results. In the cartilage fragments the chondrocytes maintained their viability at one and two months; at one month (in about 79% of the cultures) and afterwards at two months (in 100% of cultures) a migration of “fibroblast-like” cells deriving from the cartilage fragments embedded into the structure was observed in the scaffold. The number of cells observed in the Hyaff-11 scaffolds is significantly higher than that observed in the Synvisc scaffolds.
Conclusion. The scaffold revealed a proper environment for the chondrocyte survival and growth in vitro; moreover, the chondrocytes showed an ability to migrate, from the original cartilage fragment into the three-dimensional structure of the scaffold, even more clearly in the Hyaff-11 scaffolds. This behaviour represents an important basis for using the cartilage fragments as a source of cells and pro-chondrogenic signals (proteins, chondral matrix) for the repair of cartilage lesions (both traumatic and degenerative) with a “one-stage” procedure.

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