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Acta Orthop Scand. 1998 Feb;69(1):56-62.

Articular cartilage repair. Rabbit experiments with a collagen gel-biomatrix and chondrocytes cultured in it.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedics, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


To repair a full-thickness articular cartilage defect in rabbit knees, we developed a technique of using a collagen gel hardened by cultured allogeneic chondrocytes in it. The gel-chondrocyte composite accumulated an intense metachromatic matrix, and had elasticity and stiffness enough to be shaped easily after 2 weeks' culture in vitro. It was implanted into full-thickness articular cartilage defects. Histologic evaluation was performed up to 6 months after surgery, using a histologic grading scale composed of 5 categories. In the gel-chondrocyte composite implanted group, good repair was observed from as early as 1 day up to 6 months. On the other hand, in the empty control group, no repair was observed 1 day to 2 weeks after the defects were made. At 4 weeks, some repair occurred, but even at 6 months the repair was not good.

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