This in vivo pilot study explored the use of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) containing tissue engineering constructs in repair of osteochondral defects. Osteochondral defects were created in the medial condyles of both knees of 16 miniature pigs. One joint received a cell/collagen tissue engineering construct with or without pretreatment with transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) and the other joint from the same pig received no treatment or the gel scaffold only. Six months after surgery, in knees with no treatment, all defects showed contracted craters; in those treated with the gel scaffold alone, six showed a smooth gross surface, one a hypertrophic surface, and one a contracted crater; in those with undifferentiated MSCs, five defects had smooth, fully repaired surfaces or partially repaired surfaces, and one defect poor repair; in those with TGF-β-induced differentiated MSCs, seven defects had smooth, fully repaired surfaces or partially repaired surfaces, and three defects showed poor repair. In Pineda score grading, the group with undifferentiated MSC, but not the group with TGF-β-induced differentiated MSCs, had significantly lower subchondral, cell morphology, and total scores than the groups with no or gel-only treatment. The compressive stiffness was larger in cartilage without surgical treatment than the treated area within each group. In conclusion, this preliminary pilot study suggests that using undifferentiated MSCs might be a better approach than using TGF-β-induced differentiated MSCs for in vivo tissue engineered treatment of osteochondral defects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas