Transplantation of chondrocytes seeded on collagen-based scaffold in cartilage defects in rabbits

Luciana De Franceschi, Brunella Grigolo, Livia Roseti, Andrea Facchini, Milena Fini, Gianluca Giavaresi, Matilde Tschon, Roberto Giardino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent success in tissue engineering by restoring cartilage defects by transplanting autologous chondrocyte cells on a three-dimensional scaffold has prompted the improvement of this therapeutic strategy. Here we describe a new approach investigating the healing of rabbit cartilage by means of autologous chondrocytes seeded on a biomaterial made of an equine collagen type I-based scaffold. Full-thickness defects were created bilaterally in the weight-bearing surface of the medial femoral condyle of both femora of New Zealand male rabbits. The wounds were then repaired by using both chondrocytes seeded on the biomaterial and biomaterial alone. Controls were similarly treated but received either no treatment or implants of the delivery substance. Histological examination of the reconstructed tissues at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after transplantation showed that at 1 and 3 months there was no formation of reconstructed tissue in any of the groups evaluated; after 6 months there was evidence of a newly regenerated tissue with some fibrocartilaginous features only in the group treated with biomaterial-seeded cells, and at 12 months a more organized tissue was evident in the same group. With regards to the group transplanted with biomaterial alone and the untreated control group, there was no evidence of new tissue production. These results advocate the use of this collagen-based scaffold for further in vivo studies on large size animals and, finally, in human clinical trials for the treatment of knee cartilage defects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-622
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Autologous chondrocytes
  • Biomaterial-seeded cells
  • Cartilage defects
  • Rabbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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