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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2004 Sep;86(7):1077-81.

Regional regenerative potential of meniscal cartilage exposed to recombinant insulin-like growth factor-I in vitro.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.


It is well recognised that meniscal tears situated within the inner, avascular region do not heal. We investigated the potential effect of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in promoting regeneration of meniscal tissue in the inner, middle and outer zones of the meniscus. Sheep menisci were harvested and monolayer cell cultures prepared. Various concentrations of IGF-I were used in the presence or absence of 10% fetal calf serum (FCS). We measured the uptake of radioactive thymidine, sulphur, and proline to assess cell proliferation and formation of extracellular matrix (ECM). IGF-I, in the presence or absence of FCS, increased the formation of DNA and ECM in all meniscal zones. However, the response of the cells from the avascular zone was greater than that from the vascular zone. Our findings indicate that fibrochondrocytes cultured from avascular meniscal tissue have the ability to regenerate when exposed to anabolic cytokines such as IGF-I.

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