Summary. Objective. With the goal to explore a new approach to treat the early degenerative lesions of hyaline cartilage, we implanted in a porcine OA model a collagen-based scaffold containing chondroprogenitor cells derived from human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs). Experimental design. Porcine knee joints were subjected to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) transection to surgically induce OA. After 4 months, the time necessary for the development of cartilage surface damage, animals were treated either wi t h t r ephi nat i on bone pl ug wr apped wi t h t he chondroprogeni c hBM-MSCs-embedded col l agen scaffold or microfractures alone. Histological and histomorphometric evaluations were performed at 5 months after surgery. Results. All animals subjected to ACL t r ansect i on showed ost eoar t hr i t i c changes including mild lateral femoral condyle or moderate medial femoral condyle ulcerations. After 14 days’ chondrogenic induction, hBM-MSCs seeded onto the scaffold showed expression of chondroprogeni tor markers such as SOX9 and COMP. At 5 months after the implantation, significant differences in the quality of the regenerated tissue were found between the hBM-MSCs-embedded scaffold group and the control group. Newly generat ed t i ssue was onl y observed at t he si t e of implantation with the hBM-MSCs-embedded scaffolds. Furthermore, histological examination of the generated tissue revealed evidence of cartilage-like tissue with lacuna formation. In contrast, fibrous layers or fissures were formed on the surface of the control knee joint. Conclusions. This study shows that xenogenic hBM-MSC derived chondroprogenitor scaffolds can generate new cartilage tissue in porcine articular cartilage and have the potential as a useful treatment option for osteoarthritis.
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