The capacity of isolated chondrocytes to join separate masses of cartilage matrix was investigated with composites implanted in subcutaneous pouches in nude mice. Slices of articular cartilage were harvested from lambs and were devitalized by cyclic freezing and thawing. The slices were then either co-cultured with viable allogeneic lamb chondrocytes (experimental) or cultured without such chondrocytes (control). Composites of three slices were constructed with use of fibrin glue and were implanted in nude mice for periods ranging from 7 to 42 days. Bonding of the experimental matrices with viable chondrocytes was achieved at 28 and 42 days, as assessed by direct examination, histology, thymidine uptake, and fluorescence. No bonding occurred in the control composites without viable chondrocytes. We conclude that devitalized cartilage matrix is a scaffold to which isolated chondrocytes can attach and begin to repopulate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine