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The European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS) 2018 Meeting, PART 2, Galway, Ireland, September 2018.


Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are a candidate cell type for treating osteoarthritic focal defects. In vivo, cartilage and bone marrow reside under a low oxygen tension, between 2–7% oxygen or physioxia, that has been shown to enhance MSC chondrogenesis. However, chondrogenesis is inhibited in the presence of IL-1. Here, it was hypothesized that physioxia reduces IL-1 inhibited chondrogenesis. Human MSCs (Mean age, 32 years; n = 9) were split equally for expansion under either 2% (physioxia) or 20% (hyperoxia) oxygen. Chondrogenic pellets (2 × 105 MSCs/pellet) were formed and cultured in the presence of 10 ng/ml TGF-b1 and in combination with either 0.1 or 0.5 ng/ml IL-1 under their respective expansion conditions. Pellets were assessed for their wet weight, GAG and collagen II content and evaluated histologically (Collagen X and MMP-13). Statistical analysis was performed using a Two-way ANOVA with Tukey post-hoc test, significant differences stated when p < 0.05. A significant dose-dependent IL-1 inhibition in chondrogenesis was observed for pellet wet weight and GAG content under hyperoxia (p < 0.05). Physioxia alone significantly increased wet weight, GAG and collagen II content (p < 0.05) compared to hyperoxia. A donor-dependant response was observed, whereby 80% of donors responded to physioxia and their analysis showed significant increases in wet weight and GAG content in the presence IL-1(p < 0.05). Furthermore, reduced hypertrophy marker expression (Collagen X and MMP-13) was observed under physioxia in the presence of IL-1. The molecular signalling mechanisms controlling these responses are to be investigated.