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J Orthop Res. 2008 Jan;26(1):18-26.

Repair of large full-thickness articular cartilage defects by transplantation of autologous uncultured bone-marrow-derived mononuclear cells.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Graduate School of Human Comprehensive Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8575, Japan.


The objective of this study was to investigate the feasibility of autologous uncultured bone marrow-derived mononuclear cell transplantation in large full-thickness cartilage regeneration. After fixing with a hinged external fixator, the entire surface of the left tibial plateau was resected and large full-thickness cartilage defects were formed in 48 rabbits. Animals were divided into four groups: autologous uncultured bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells with fibrin gel (BMC), autologous uncultured peripheral blood-derived mononuclear cells with fibrin gel (PBC), fibrin gel alone (GEL), or nothing (CON) transplanted to the articular cavity 7 days after the operation. The rabbits were killed 8 or 12 weeks after the operation. The repair of defects was investigated histologically and scored using a histological and histochemical grading scale that was modified from the International Cartilage Repair Society Visual Histological Assessment Scale. To evaluate the regenerated cartilage, we also morphometrically measured the staining area positive for Safranin-O or type II collagen and calculated the percentages of the positive staining areas with respect to the regenerated soft tissue area. Histological findings showed that the BMC group had superior cartilage repair compared with the other groups, and that the PBC and CON group showed better cartilage repair than did the GEL group. Histological scores and morphometrical measurements also showed the same results quantitively. The transplantation of autologous uncultured bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells contributes to articular cartilage repair. The easy and safe method used in this study is potentially viable for clinical application.

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