Osteochondral tissue cultures: Between limits and sparks, the next step for advanced in vitro models

Melania Maglio, Matilde Tschon, Laura Sicuro, Roberta Lolli, Milena Fini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increasing demand for reliable preclinical models and to reduce, refine and, if possible, replace animal studies have brought forth the development of complex tissue cultures in different research areas, including the musculoskeletal field. In this paper, we review the literature within last 10 years on the state of progress for in vitro models of osteochondral tissue cultures, taking into account the clinical relevance of the management and treatment of osteochondral lesions. According to the selected research criteria, 35 works, 27 of which with animal tissues and 8 with human tissues, resulted to be relevant for the purposes of this review. Data analyzed revealed a great heterogeneity among the proposed tissue culture models. The anatomical harvesting sites resulted to be mainly the knee stifle joint, both for animal (prevalently bovines) and human tissues derived from joint replacement surgery, and significant heterogeneity among culture conditions and media were found. To date, very few papers have focused on the set up of a reproducible in vitro model, applicable to a variety of studies, thus suggesting a relevant gap to fill in the development of advanced three-dimensional osteochondral culture models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5420-5435
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 26 2018


  • graft
  • in vitro culture
  • osteochondral
  • review
  • three-dimensional organ culture
  • tissue model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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