Prolonged-fresh preservation of intact whole canine femoral condyles for the potential use as osteochondral allografts

J Orthop Res. 2005 Jul;23(4):831-7. doi: 10.1016/j.orthres.2004.07.007.


Defects in articular cartilage are often repaired with fresh osteochondral grafts. While fresh allografts provide viable chondrocytes, logistic limitations require surgical implantation within seven days of graft harvest. Here, we provide information on cold preservation of whole intact osteochondral materials that retains cartilage cell viability and function, and histologic and biochemical integrity for 28 days. Canine femoral condyles were obtained and stored at 4 degrees C for 14, 21 or 28 days. At the end of the storage period, cartilage was assessed for cell viability, 35S uptake, proteoglycan content and histologic parameters. The most noticeable histologic change was reduced Safranin-O near the cartilage surface with 14 days of cold preservation, but had recovered with 21 and 28 days. Cartilage thicknesses did not vary significantly. Cell viability was >95% at 14 days, 75-98% at 21 days and reduced to 65-90% at 28 days. Cell function measures showed that the level of 35SO4 incorporation was suppressed in samples stored at 4 degrees C. However, no significant differences were seen among groups at 14, 21 or 28 days of cold preservation. This data has implications for tissue banking protocols for osteochondral allograft material obtained for transplantation suggesting that cold preserved allograft material be implanted within 28 days.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Transplantation*
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / transplantation*
  • Cell Survival
  • Dogs
  • Femur / cytology
  • Femur / transplantation*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Sulfates / pharmacokinetics
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Proteoglycans
  • Sulfates
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • sodium sulfate