Background Chronic arthritis is a widespread disease1. Several therapies have been attempted to treat focal cartilage defects, but none of them resulted in full repair with formation of typical hyaline cartilage. The creation of an effective therapeutic modality is essential to minimize the side effects of conventional therapy2. Moreover, stem cell therapy may establish a prospective therapy for OA in the future. There is a requirement for additional new effective therapy opportunities3.
Objectives The aim of this study is to determine the efficacy of MSC as a potential treatment for OA.
Methods Focal cartilage defect was created in the medial femoral condyle of the right knee of all rabbit groups. In one group the defect was left untreated. Human umbilical cord MSCs were infused in the defect, in a second group. A third group received MSCs on a fibrin glue scaffold. A fourth group received minced cartilage impregnated with MSCs. Healing was assessed clinically, radiologically and pathologically in post-mortem samples.
Results The surgical technique proved to be safe. No infection was reported and the animals were able to move normally after 8 weeks. Ex-vivo examination of the knee joints showed better healing of the defect in rabbits that received cartilage paste compared to those receiving MSCs+ fibrin glue followed by those receiving MSCs only. MRI showed persistent osteochondral defect in rabbits treated with MSCs, without and with fibrin glue, mean MOCART score was 10 points. However. The defect was smaller with fibrin glue. Complete defect fill, intact cartilage surface, and complete integration with adjacent cartilage was observed in rabbits treated with MSCs and Cartilage, mean MOCART score was 85 points. Pathologic examination revealed that MSCs, alone, induced chondrocyte proliferation and stimulated cartilage repair. A better result was obtained with MSCs + fibrin glue. The best repair was obtained when autologous cartilage paste was used. This is in agreement with MRI findings.
Conclusions Repair of focal articular cartilage defects using autologous cartilage paste impregnated with MSCs appears to be successful as proven clinically, radiologically, as well as pathologically.
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Acknowledgements This project was supported by Salim Bin Mahfouz chair - Stem Cells Treatment for Osteoarthritis. King Abdulaziz University- Jeedah, Saudi Arabia.
Disclosure of Interest None declared