Regenerative Features of Adipose Tissue for Osteoarthritis Treatment in a Rabbit Model: Enzymatic Digestion Versus Mechanical Disruption

Giovanna Desando, Isabella Bartolotti, Lucia Martini, Gianluca Giavaresi, Nicolò Nicoli Aldini, Milena Fini, Alice Roffi, Francesco Perdisa, Giuseppe Filardo, Elizaveta Kon, Brunella Grigolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evaluating cell migration after cell-based treatment is important for several disorders, including osteoarthritis (OA), as it might influence the clinical outcome. This research explores migrating expanded-adipose stromal cells (ASCs) and adipose niches after enzymatic and mechanical processes. Bilateral anterior cruciate ligament transection induced a mild grade of OA at eight weeks in adult male New Zealand rabbits. ASCs, enzymatic stromal vascular fraction (SVF), and micro fragmented adipose tissue (MFAT) were intra-articularly injected in the knee joint. Assessments of cell viability and expression of specific markers, including CD-163 wound-healing macrophages, were done. Cell migration was explored through labelling with PKH26 dye at 7 and 30 days alongside co-localization analyses for CD-146. All cells showed good viability and high percentages of CD-90 and CD-146. CD-163 was significantly higher in MFAT compared to SVF. Distinct migratory potential and time-dependent effects were observed among cell-based treatments. At day 7, both ASCs and SVF migrated towards synovium, whereas for MFAT versus cartilage, a different migration pattern was noticed at day 30. The long-term distinct cell migration of ASCs, SVF, and MFAT open interesting clinical insights on their potential use for OA treatment. Moreover, the highest expression of CD-163 in MFAT, rather than SVF, might have an important role in directly mediating cartilage tissue repair responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - May 29 2019


  • CD-163 macrophages
  • adipose niche
  • cartilage
  • expanded adipose-derived stromal cells
  • local biodistribution
  • meniscus
  • osteoarthritis
  • synovial membrane


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