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Cell Tissue Bank. 2014 Mar;15(1):59-66. doi: 10.1007/s10561-013-9371-3. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Characterization of articular chondrocytes isolated from 211 osteoarthritic patients.

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LaBS, Department of Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133, Milan, Italy.


We analyzed specific features of chondrocytes as cellular yield, cell doubling rates and the dependence between these parameters and patient-related data in a set of 211 osteoarthritic (OA) patients undergoing total joint replacement. For each patient the data available were joint type, age and gender. Knee samples chosen randomly among all biopsies were graded according to ICRS score. Patients' age ranged between 30 and 90 years with a mean age of 66 ± 9.7 years. Patients were divided into age classes and statistically significant differences in proliferation rate at passage 1 were found between chondrocytes derived from young and old donors, with the last ones characterized by a lower proliferation rate. A similar trend was observed for proliferation rate at passage 2. For all the samples, cellular yields ranged between 0.1 and 5.5 million cells/g of tissue. No significant correlation was observed between the level of cartilage degeneration (ICRS score) and cellular yield and proliferation rates. However, in samples with a high degree of cartilage degeneration (ICRS score 4) the cellular yield was lower compared to the other three groups (ICRS scores 1-3). In this study we performed a systematic characterization of basic parameters of chondrocytes originating from a wide group of OA patients. Considering the use of autologous chondrocytes in chondral treatments, the characterization of cell basic features may represent an important step to determine the quality of the cell source which is a major determinant in the outcome of cell-based therapies.

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