Articular chondrocytes can synthesize new cartilaginous matrix in vivo that forms functional bonds with native cartilage. Other sources of chondrocytes may have a similar ability to form new cartilage with healing capacity. This study evaluates the ability of various chondrocyte sources to produce new cartilaginous matrix in vivo and to form functional bonds with native cartilage. Disks of articular cartilage and articular, auricular, and costal chondrocytes were harvested from swine. Articular, auricular, or costal chondrocytes suspended in fibrin glue (experimental), or fibrin glue alone (control), were placed between disks of articular cartilage, forming trilayer constructs, and implanted subcutaneously into nude mice for 6 and 12 weeks. Specimens were evaluated for neocartilage production and integration into native cartilage with histological and biomechanical analysis. New matrix was formed in all experimental samples, consisting mostly of neocartilage integrating with the cartilage disks. Control samples developed fibrous tissue without evidence of neocartilage. Ultimate tensile strength values for experimental samples were significantly increased (p < 0.05) from 6 to 12 weeks, and at 12 weeks they were significantly greater (p < 0.05) than those of controls. We conclude that articular, auricular, and costal chondrocytes have a similar ability to produce new cartilaginous matrix in vivo that forms mechanically functional bonds with native cartilage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology