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Int J Stem Cells. 2019 Mar 30;12(1):162-169. doi: 10.15283/ijsc18022.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells Decrease Tunnel Widening of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction in Rabbit Model.

Author information

Center for Joint Disease, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Hwasun, Korea.
Department of Pathology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.


Background and Objectives:

The study investigated the effect of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or fibrin glue on tunnel widening after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction compared with biologic free control without any biologic agents in the rabbit model.

Methods and Results:

ACL reconstructions were performed in 18 New Zealand white rabbits. All animals were divided into 3 groups according to the following reconstruction conditions and euthanized 12 weeks postoperatively for radiologic and histologic analyses. Thirty-two knees (control group=10; fibrin group=11; MSCs group=11) were finally evaluated. On micro-CT scan, mean femoral tunnel widening on oblique-sagittal image was 0.7±0.4 mm in the control group, 0.22±0.1 mm in the fibrin group and 0.25±0.1 mm in the MSCs group (p=0.001). Fibrin group and MSCs group showed significant differences compared with control group (p=0.002, 0.002). Mean tibial tunnel widening on oblique-sagittal image was 0.76±0.5 mm, 0.27±0.1 mm and 0.29±0.2 mm in the control, fibrin and MSCs group. Fibrin and MSCs group showed significant differences compared with control group (p=0.017, 0.014). Hounsfield Units (HU) were not significantly different between 3 groups (p>0.05). Histological analysis revealed that the architecture of graft in the MSCs group featured hypercellularity and compact collagen deposit.


ACL reconstruction using MSCs seemed decrease tunnel widening in rabbit model. Further study with large animals is required to confirm efficacy on decreasing tunnel widening.


Anterior cruciate ligament; Mesenchymal stem cell; Rabbit model; Tunnel widening

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