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Cytotherapy. 2005;7(6):520-30.

Differentiation of transplanted mesenchymal stem cells in a large osteochondral defect in rabbit.

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Department of Hand Surgery, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.



Although accumulating evidence shows that mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are a promising cell source for articular cartilage repair, the fate of transplanted MSC has not been extensively studied.


To monitor their persistence and differentiation, we labeled uninduced MSC with a fluorescent dye, PKH26, and transplanted them, in a poly-glycolic-acid scaffold, to full-thickness defects made in the weight-bearing area of rabbit femoral trochleae with hyaluronate sheets. The fate of the labeled cells was monitored for up to 8 weeks.


Two weeks after transplantation, immature cartilage containing collagen type II had formed. By 8 weeks, this cartilage had thinned and immunolabeling for collagen type II gradually disappeared from the basal region, which became positive for collagen type I. Most chondrocytes within the regenerated cartilage were PKH26-positive and, therefore, derived from transplanted MSC, whereas osteoblasts within the regenerated bone were a mixture of donor- and host-derived cells. The thickness of the cartilage became thinner up to 8 weeks and then remained stable up to 42 weeks after surgery.


These results showed that uninduced MSC were able to survive osteochondral defects and differentiated according to the environment, making a major contribution to initial cartilage formation and a partial contribution to bone regeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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