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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 1 | Pages 62 - 67
1 Jan 2012
Aurich M Hofmann GO Mückley T Mollenhauer J Rolauffs B

We attempted to characterise the biological quality and regenerative potential of chondrocytes in osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). Dissected fragments from ten patients with OCD of the knee (mean age 27.8 years (16 to 49)) were harvested at arthroscopy. A sample of cartilage from the intercondylar notch was taken from the same joint and from the notch of ten patients with a traumatic cartilage defect (mean age 31.6 years (19 to 52)). Chondrocytes were extracted and subsequently cultured. Collagen types 1, 2, and 10 mRNA were quantified by polymerase chain reaction. Compared with the notch chondrocytes, cells from the dissecate expressed similar levels of collagen types 1 and 2 mRNA. The level of collagen type 10 message was 50 times lower after cell culture, indicating a loss of hypertrophic cells or genes. The high viability, retained capacity to differentiate and metabolic activity of the extracted cells suggests preservation of the intrinsic repair capability of these dissecates. Molecular analysis indicated a phenotypic modulation of the expanded dissecate chondrocytes towards a normal phenotype. Our findings suggest that cartilage taken from the dissecate can be reasonably used as a cell source for chondrocyte implantation procedures.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 91-B, Issue 3 | Pages 409 - 416
1 Mar 2009
Anders JO Mollenhauer J Beberhold A Kinne RW Venbrocks RA

The gelatin-based haemostyptic compound Spongostan was tested as a three-dimensional (3D) chondrocyte matrix in an in vitro model for autologous chondrocyte transplantation using cells harvested from bovine knees. In a control experiment of monolayer cultures, the proliferation or de-differentiation of bovine chondrocytes was either not or only marginally influenced by the presence of Spongostan (0.3 mg/ml).

In monolayers and 3-D Minusheet culture chambers, the cartilage-specific differentiation markers aggrecan and type-II collagen were ubiquitously present in a cell-associated fashion and in the pericellular matrix. The Minusheet cultures usually showed a markedly higher mRNA expression than monolayer cultures irrespective of whether Spongostan had been present or not during culture. Although the de-differentiation marker type-I collagen was also present, the ratio of type-I to type-II collagen or aggrecan to type-I collagen remained higher in Minusheet 3-D cultures than in monolayer cultures irrespective of whether Spongostan had been included in or excluded from the monolayer cultures. The concentration of GAG in Minusheet cultures reached its maximum after 14 days with a mean of 0.83 ± 0.8 μg/106 cells; mean ±, sem, but remained considerably lower than in monolayer cultures with/without Spongostan.

Our results suggest that Spongostan is in principle suitable as a 3-D chondrocyte matrix, as demonstrated in Minusheet chambers, in particular for a culture period of 14 days. Clinically, differentiating effects on chondrocytes, simple handling and optimal formability may render Spongostan an attractive 3-D scaffold for autologous chondrocyte transplantation.