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.
- CD-163 macrophages
- adipose niche
- expanded adipose-derived stromal cells
- local biodistribution
- synovial membrane