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Effects of introducing cultured human chondrocytes into a human articular cartilage explant model

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Articular cartilage (AC) heals poorly and effective host-tissue integration after reconstruction is a concern. We have investigated the ability of implanted chondrocytes to attach at the site of injury and to be incorporated into the decellularized host matrix adjacent to a defect in an in vitro human explant model. Human osteochondral dowels received a standardized injury, were seeded with passage 3 chondrocytes labelled with PKH 26 and compared with two control groups. All dowels were cultured in vitro, harvested at 0, 7, 14 and 28 days and assessed for chondrocyte adherence and migration into the region of decellularized tissue adjacent to the defects. Additional evaluation included cell viability, general morphology and collagen II production. Seeded chondrocytes adhered to the standardized defect and areas of lamina splendens disruption but did not migrate into the adjacent acellular region. A difference was noted in viable-cell density between the experimental group and one control group. A thin lattice-like network of matrix surrounded the seeded chondrocytes and collagen II was present. The results indicate that cultured human chondrocytes do indeed adhere to regions of AC matrix injury but do not migrate into the host tissue, despite the presence of viable cells. This human explant model is thus an effective tool for studying the interaction of implanted cells and host tissue.

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Correspondence to Nadr M. Jomha.

Additional information

This study was conducted at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada and was funded by the Edmonton Orthopaedic Research Committee, the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation, and the Clinical Investigators Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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Secretan, C., Bagnall, K.M. & Jomha, N.M. Effects of introducing cultured human chondrocytes into a human articular cartilage explant model. Cell Tissue Res 339, 421–427 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-009-0901-z

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  • Chondrocyte
  • Matrix injury
  • Cartilage healing
  • Cell attachment
  • Human