Short-Term Homing of Hyaluronan-Primed Cells: Therapeutic Implications for Osteoarthritis Treatment.

Giovanna Desando, Isabella Bartolotti, Carola Cavallo, Antonella Schiavinato, C Secchieri, Elizaveta Kon, Giuseppe Filardo, M. Paro, Brunella Grigolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The evaluation of key factors modulating cell homing following injection can provide new insights in the comprehension of unsolved biological questions about the use of cell therapies for osteoarthritis (OA). The main purpose of this in vivo study was to investigate the biodistribution of an intra-articular injection of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and bone marrow concentrate (BMC) in a rabbit OA model and whether the additional use of sodium hyaluronate (HA) could modulate their migration and delay joint degeneration. OA was surgically induced in adult male New Zealand rabbits. A group of animals was used to test the biodistribution of labeled cells alone or with HA at 7 and 14 days to investigate cell migration. The efficacy of treatments was evaluated in other experimental groups at 2 months. Histology and immunohistochemistry for markers identifying anabolic and catabolic processes in the cartilage and meniscus, or macrophage subset population in the synovial membrane, were performed. Kruskal-Wallis test, followed by post hoc Dunn's test, and Spearman's rank-order correlation method were used. MSCs and BMC preferentially migrate toward tissue areas showing OA features in the meniscus and cartilage and in detail near inflammatory zones in the synovial membrane. The combination with HA contributed to boost cell migration toward articular cartilage. In general, both labeled cells combined with HA were found near cell cluster and fissures in the cartilage and meniscus, respectively, and close to areas of synovial membrane showing mainly anti-inflammatory macrophages. A promotion of joint repair was observed at different levels for all treatments, although BMC-HA treatment resulted as the best strategy to support joint repair. This last, displayed a good protein expression of type II collagen in the cartilage, as well as the presence of anti-inflammatory macrophages in the synovial membrane at 2 months from the treatment. Studies tracking cell biodistribution indicate that priming progenitor cells with HA modulated cell homing favoring not only attachment but also their integration within articular cartilage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Publication statusPublished - Dec 22 2017


  • cell migration
  • cell-based therapies
  • macrophage subset population
  • osteoarthritis
  • sodium hyaluronat


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