Transplantation of autologous endothelial progenitor cells in porous PLGA scaffolds create a microenvironment for the regeneration of hyaline cartilage in rabbits

N. J. Chang, C. F. Lam, C. C. Lin, W. L. Chen, C. F. Li, Y. T. Lin, M. L. Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Repairing articular cartilage is clinically challenging. We investigated a simple, effective and clinically feasible cell-based therapeutic approach using a poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) scaffold seeded with autologous endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) to repair a full-thickness osteochondral defect in rabbits using a one-step surgery. Methods: EPC obtained by purifying a small amount of peripheral blood from rabbits were seeded into a highly porous, biocompatible PLGA scaffold, namely, EPC-PLGA, and implanted into the osteochondral defect in the medial femoral condyle. Twenty two rabbits were randomized into one of three groups: the empty defect group (ED), the PLGA-only group or the EPC-PLGA group. The defect sites were evaluated 4 and 12 weeks after implantation. Results: At the end of testing, only the EPC-PLGA group showed the development of new cartilage tissue with a smooth, transparent and integrated articular surface. Moreover, histological analysis showed obvious differences in cartilage regeneration. At week 4, the EPC-PLGA group showed considerably higher TGF-β2 and TGF-β3 expression, a greater amount of synthesized glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content, and a higher degree of osteochondral angiogenesis in repaired tissues. At week 12, the EPC-PLGA group showed enhanced hyaline cartilage regeneration with a normal columnar chondrocyte arrangement, higher SOX9 expression, and greater GAG and collagen type II (COLII) content. Moreover, the EPC-PLGA group showed organized osteochondral integration, the formation of vessel-rich tubercular bone and significantly higher bone volume per tissue volume and trabecular thickness (Tb.Th). Conclusion: The present EPC-PLGA cell delivery system generates a suitable in situ microenvironment for osteochondral regeneration without the supplement of exogenous growth factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1613-1622
Number of pages10
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Volume21
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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