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Effect of autologous platelet-rich plasma on the repair of full-thickness articular defects in rabbits



To assess the effect of autologous platelet-rich plasma on the repair of full-thickness articular cartilage lesions in immature rabbits. To that end, the samples were studied using macroscopic, microscopic and biomechanical techniques.


Twenty-four 11-week-old New Zealand rabbits were divided into two groups based on the treatment (physiological saline serum PCB, autologous platelet-rich plasma PRP). Cartilage lesions were drilled in medial femoral condyle of these rabbits. Other 12 rabbits were under the same conditions, but they did not suffer any lesion and treatment (control group CTR). The three groups were divided into two subgroups, depending on the age at the time of killing (16 and 19 weeks old).


The CTR group showed the best possible value in the macroscopic and microscopic evaluation. Meanwhile, the PCB and PRP group values were lower than the CTR group values, at two times of the study, but similar to each other at 19 weeks. In the biomechanical study, at 16 weeks, the CTR and PCB groups behaved similarly, with values above PRP group values, while at 19 weeks, CTR group showed higher values than PCB and PRP groups, and there were no differences between these values.


The evolution of the tissue treated with autologous PRP showed a positive tendency over time, while the PCB group was negative. Nevertheless, at 19 weeks of age, the PRP treatment did not show better results than the PCB, both showing the characteristics of fibrocartilaginous tissue. Likewise, none of the two treatments produced a repair tissue as the healthy cartilage.

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This work was supported by the “Fundación García Cugat para la investigación biomedica”.

Conflict of interest

Dr. Cugat is the Director of the “Fundación García Cugat para la investigación biomedica”. Dr. Serra, Dr. Soler and Dr. Carrillo are members of this foundation. They have not received any benefits or payment by this work. The other authors have no conflict of interest to report.

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Correspondence to Claudio Iván Serra.

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Serra, C.I., Soler, C., Carillo, J.M. et al. Effect of autologous platelet-rich plasma on the repair of full-thickness articular defects in rabbits. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 21, 1730–1736 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-012-2141-0

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  • Platelet-rich plasma
  • Articular cartilage
  • Repair tissue
  • Rabbit