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World J Orthop. 2014 Sep 18;5(4):550-6. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v5.i4.550. eCollection 2014 Sep 18.

Donor's site evaluation after restoration with autografts or synthetic plugs in rabbits.

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Konstantinos S Intzoglou, Laboratory for Research of the Musculoskeletal System, University of Athens, Maroussi 14561, Greece.



To investigate donor site's area histological and immunohistochemical knee cartilage appearances after resurfacing iatrogenic defects with biosynthetic plugs orautografts.


Thirty New Zealand White rabbits were used in this study. A full-thickness cylindrical defect of 4.5 mm (diameter) × 7 mm (depth) was created with a hand drill in the femoral groove of every animal. In Group A (n = 10) the defect of the donor site was repaired with a biosynthetic osteochondral plug, in Group B (n = 10) with an osteochondral autograft, while in Group C (control group of 10) rabbits were left untreated.


Twenty-four weeks postoperatively, smooth articular cartilage was found macroscopically in some trocleas' surfaces; in all others, an articular surface with discontinuities was observed. Twenty-eight out of 30 animals were found with predominantly viable chondrocytes leaving the remaining two -which were found only in the control group- with partially viable chondrocytes. However, histology revealed many statistical differences between the groups as far as the International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS) categories are concerned. Immunofluoresence also revealed the presence of collagen II in all specimens of Group B, whereas in Group A collagen II was found in less specimens. In Group C collagen IIwas not found.


The matrix, cell distribution, subchondral bone and cartilage mineralization ICRS categories showed statistically differences between the three groups. Group A was second, while group B received the best scores; the control group got the worst ICRS scores in these categories. So, the donor site area, when repairing osteochondral lesions with autografting systems, is better amended with osteochondral autograft rather than bone graft substitute implant.


Autografts; Donor site; Histological evaluation; Immunofluoresence; International Cartilage Repair Society score; Osteochondral defects; Rabbit model; Synthetic plug; animal study

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