Isolated epiphyseal chondrocytes from 5 week old female New Zealand white rabbits were transplanted as allografts into drill holes in the tibial articular surface of adult male New Zealand white rabbits. The grafts were examined after 8 weeks. Fresh chondrocytes which were partially separated from their matrix were more successful (47%) than completely separated cells (20%) and were significantly more successful (P greater than 0.05) in skeletally mature (58%) as opposed to immature recipients (20%). Storage of the cells at -79 degrees C for 2 to 9 days or at -196 degrees C for 36 to 58 weeks gave successful results of 23% and 33%, respectively. Control defects showed fibrocartilage filling the defect in 25%. The factors affecting survival of chondrocyte allografts require further study before clinical application of the method.
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