Healing full-thickness cartilage defects using adipose-derived stem cells

Tissue Eng. 2007 Jul;13(7):1615-21. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.0249.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) as a source for full-thickness cartilage repair in an animal model. Autologous ADSCs were isolated and induced with growth medium and placed in a fibrin glue scaffold and into 3-mm x 4-mm full-thickness chondral defects in rabbits with negative controls. Specimens were evaluated for early healing using immunostaining, Western blotting, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, transfection with the Lac Z gene, and quantitative assessment. Twelve of 12 (100%) articular surface defects containing tissue-engineered stem cell constructs healed with hyaline-like cartilage, versus 1 of 12 (8%) in the control group (p < .001). There was complete healing to subchondral bone in 12 of 12 experimental defects (100%), and 10 of 12 (83%) had seamless annealing to the native cartilage. Aggrecan, superficial zone protein, collagen type II messenger ribonucleic acid, and Lac-Z gene products were identified in 12 of 12 experimental specimens, which exhibited a collagen type II:I protein ratio similar to that of normal rabbit cartilage. Quantitative histologic analysis revealed an average score of 18.2 of 21 in the experimental group, compared with 10.0 in the controls (p = .001). Induced ADSCs supported in a fibrin glue matrix are a promising cell source for cartilage tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Cartilage / injuries*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Femur / injuries
  • Male
  • Multipotent Stem Cells*
  • Rabbits
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*