Meniscus regeneration in a rabbit

Tissue Eng. 1999 Aug; 5(4) : 327-37.
Meniscus regeneration in a rabbit partial meniscectomy model.

Walsh CJ, Goodman D, Caplan AI, Goldberg VM.
The Departments of Biology and Orthopaedics, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.

Meniscectomy is known to be associated with osteoarthrosis of the knee. The purpose of this study was to compare the natural and augmented repair of menisci in the knees of New Zealand White rabbits. To create a partial defect in the medial meniscus, we used an experimental model that has been well characterized and extensively used in the study of osteoarthrosis and articular cartilage repair. The defect was left untreated or treated with one of the following: a periosteal autograft, a type I collagen sponge, or the same sponge loaded with autologous, bone marrow-derived, cultured mesenchymal stem cells. The natural repair was always incomplete and degenerative changes within these joints were progressive. The periosteal autograft underwent differentiation into a bone and hyaline cartilage composite that was ineffectual as a meniscus and accelerated the degenerative changes in those joints when compared to natural repair controls. There was evidence of a consistent sequence of events in the transformation of the periosteal grafts to a core of cartilage that underwent endochondral ossification. In the last two groups, the collagen sponge functioned as a scaffold that resulted in more abundant repair tissue. The collagen sponge alone supported a largely fibrous repair process. The cultured mesenchymal stem cells were observed to augment the repair process in some specimens to include fibrocartilage histologically similar to normal meniscus. Degenerative changes were present in both of these groups, which indicates that the biomechanical function of the meniscus was not restored, or an irreversible osteoarthrosis cascade was initiated during the repair period. Based on these preliminary studies, further investigation of cell-based meniscus regeneration appears to be warranted.

PMID: 10477855 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]