Introduction: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have the capacity to differentiate into chondrocytes with the synthesis of cartilage. This report presents the use of human adult bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells for tissue engineering of autologous cartilage grafts.
Methods: Human bone marrow aspirates were obtained from the iliac crest and fractionated on a Percoll gradient. The isolated hMSC were plated at 20 x 10 (6) cells per 100 mm (2) culture dish. After 21 days in culture at 37 degrees C with 5 % CO 2, the adherent multiplied MSC were trypsinized, counted, and tested for viability by trypan blue assay. The hMSCs were loaded into a sterile 15 ml polypropylene tube (0.5 Mio cells/ml) and centrifuged on the bottom of the tube at 500 g for 5 minutes. The MSC were cultivated for 3 weeks in vitro in a specific chondrogenetic medium composed of Dulbecco's Modified Eagles Medium-High Glucose supplemented with 10 ng/ml transforming growth factor-beta 1, 1 % ITS-Premix medium, 80 micro M ascorbic acid, and 100 nM dexamethasone.
Results: Histological and immunohistochemical studies performed after 3 weeks in three dimensional culture demonstrated the expression of cartilage specific collagen type II and X as well as proteoglycans.
Conclusion: Human adult mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow aspirates have the ability to differentiate into chondrocytes under specific culture conditions by growth factors. The use of adult mesenchymal stem cells may be a promising tool for tissue engineering of autologous cartilage grafts in reconstructive surgery in the future.