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SP0089 Cell-based technologies in joint repair
  1. F Luyten
  1. Rheumatology, University Hospitals KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium


Tissue engineering is a field of Biomedicine that is rapidly growing, and is critically driven by scientific advances in the areas of developmental and cell biology, material sciences and biochemistry/polymer chemistry. Regeneration of skeletal tissues, including joint surface repair, skin repair, and treatment of CNS disorders are among the most promising areas, and are closest to immediate novel clinical applications. Validation and appropriate regulation of these new biological treatments are critical.

Autologous chondrocyte transplantation (ACT) is a promising approach for joint surface defect repair. The procedure involves autologous chondrocyte cell expansion, known to result in phenotypic de-differentiation. This may be associated with a reduction of cartilage forming ability in vivo, raising the need for proper quality controls for expanded chondrocyte populations. We have linked an in vivo cartilage-forming assay to molecular markers. This set of molecular markers can represent a quality control for chondrocyte expansion and transplantation, and a tool for developing procedures aimed at preserving/restoring the phenotypic stability of expanded chondrocytes. However, it is has still to be established if the ACT procedure is the first line treatment for articular cartilage defects. Apart from the phenotypic instability, there are other disadvantages associated with this procedure. One of them is the cartilage biopsy needed to obtain chondrocytes. Therefore, we have set out to identify precursor cell populations capable of contributing to joint tissue repair. Our data indicate that besides bone marrow stromal cells, periosteal- and synovium-derived fibroblast-like cells (FLCs) are potential progenitors for joint repair. Both human periosteal- and synovium-derived FLCs can be obtained and expanded reproducibly and consistently, independent of the age of the donor. These cell populations are phenotypically stable over at least 10–15 passages. In addition, they are and maintain a multilineage potential, i.e. they are chondrogenic, osteogenic, myogenic and adipogenic grown under appropriate culture conditions. We have also linked these precursor cell populations to specific markers. These cell-based technologies provide important tools to optimise the repair and engineering of joints and joint associated tissues.

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