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.