Matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI): biological and histological assessment

Tissue Eng. 2007 Apr;13(4):737-46. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.0246.


Matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) has been a treatment of cartilage injury since 2000, but little is known of the histological paradigm of tissue regeneration after implantation. MACI is a stable cell-based delivery system that enables the regeneration of hyaline-like cartilage. From a cohort of 56 MACI patients, we examined the phenotype of chondrocytes seeded on type I/III collagen scaffold, and conducted progressive histologic assessment over a period of 6 months. Chondrocyte-seeded collagen scaffolds from patient implants were analyzed by electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry (type II collagen and S-100), and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) (aggrecan and type II collagen). Coincidental cartilage biopsies were obtained at 48 hours, 21 days, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. Our data showed that chondrocytes on the collagen scaffold appeared spherical, well integrated into the matrix, and maintained the chondrocyte phenotype as evidenced by aggrecan, type II collagen, and S-100 expression. Progressive histologic evaluation of the biopsies showed the formation of cartilage-like tissue as early as 21 days, and 75% hyaline-like cartilage regeneration after 6 months. This preliminary study has suggested that MACI may offer an improved alternative to traditional treatments for cartilage injury by regenerating hyaline-like cartilage as early as 6 months after surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chondrocytes / pathology*
  • Chondrocytes / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Cartilage / pathology*
  • Fractures, Cartilage / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome