Methods: The OACs were expanded from passage 0 (P0) to P3, and cells in each passage were analyzed for gross morphology, growth rate, RNA expression and immunochemistry (IHC). The harvested OACs were assigned into two groups: low (1×10 cells/ml) and high (3×10 cells/ml) cell density. Three-dimensional (3D) constructs for each group were created using polymerised fibrin and cultured for 7, 14 and 21 days in vitro using chondrocyte growth medium. OAC constructs were analyzed with gross assessments and microscopic evaluation using standard histology, IHC and immunofluorescence staining, in addition to gene expression and biochemical analyses to evaluate tissue development.
Results: Constructs with a high seeding density of 3×10 cells/ml were associated with better quality cartilage-like tissue than those seeded with 1×10 cells/ml based on overall tissue formation, cell association and extracellular matrix distribution. The chondrogenic properties of the constructs were further confirmed by the expression of genes encoding aggrecan core protein and collagen type II.
Interpretation & conclusions: Our results confirmed that cell density was a significant factor affecting cell behaviour and aggregate production, and this was important for establishing good quality cartilage.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sciatic nerve gap of 15 mm was created in six adult female Sprague-Dawley rats and implanted with PLGA seeded with OECs. The nerve regeneration was assessed electrophysiologically at 2, 4 and 6 weeks following implantation. Histopathological examination, scanning electron microscopic (SEM) examination and immunohistochemical analysis were performed at the end of the study.
RESULTS: Nerve conduction studies revealed a significant improvement of nerve conduction velocities whereby the mean nerve conduction velocity increases from 4.2 0.4 m/s at week 2 to 27.3 5.7 m/s at week 6 post-implantation (P < 0.0001). Histological analysis revealed presence of spindle-shaped cells. Immunohistochemical analysis further demonstrated the expression of S100 protein in both cell nucleus and the cytoplasm in these cells, hence confirming their Schwann-cell-like property. Under SEM, these cells were found to be actively secreting extracellular matrix.
CONCLUSION: Tissue-engineered PLGA conduit seeded with OECs provided a permissive environment to facilitate nerve regeneration in a small animal model.
METHODS: Osteoarthritis was induced at the right knee of sheep by complete resection of ACL and medial meniscus. Stem cells from sheep were induced to chondrogenic lineage. Test sheep received 5 mls single doses of 2 × 107 autologous PKH26-labelled ADSCs or BMSCs, while controls received basal medium. Functional recovery of the knees was evaluated via electromyography.
RESULTS: Induced ADSCs had 625, 255, 393, 908, 409, 157 and 1062 folds increases of collagen I, collagen II, aggrecan, SOX9, cartilage oligomeric protein, chondroadherin and fibromodullin compare to uninduced cells, while BMSCs had 702, 657, 321, 276, 337, 233 and 1163 respectively; p = .001. Immunocytochemistry was positive for these chondrogenic markers. 12 months post-treatment, controls scored 4 in most regions using ICRS, while the treated had 8; P = .001. Regenerated cartilages were positive to PKH26 and demonstrated the presence of condensing cartilages on haematoxylin and eosin; and Safranin O. OA degenerations caused significant amplitude shift from right to left hind limb. After treatments, controls persisted with significant decreases; while treated samples regained balance.
CONCLUSIONS: Both ADSCs and BMSCs had increased chondrogenic gene expressions using TGF-β3 and BMP-6. The treated knees had improved cartilage scores; PKH26 can provide elongated tracking, while EMG results revealed improved joint recoveries. These could be suitable therapies for osteoarthritis.