Reversal of suppressed metabolism in prolonged cold preserved cartilage

J Orthop Res. 2008 Feb;26(2):247-54. doi: 10.1002/jor.20487.


Chondrocytes in cold preserved cartilage are metabolically suppressed. The goal of this study was to address this metabolic suppression and seek ways to reverse it. Specifically, we examined the roles of rewarming protocols and nitric oxide (NO) in this metabolic suppression. Bovine and canine full-thickness articular cartilage explants were cultured under various temperature conditions, and NO production, proteoglycan (PG) synthesis, and cell viability were measured. Nitric oxide was shown to be negatively correlated with PG synthesis following abrupt rewarming of cold preserved osteochondral allografts. Gradual rewarming of the allograft tissue decreased NO production with higher PG synthesis. Inhibition of nitric oxide synthases (NOS) led to a decrease in NO production and a concomitant increase in PG synthesis. We were able to partially reverse metabolic suppression of cold preserved osteochondral allograft material with gradual rewarming and decrease NO production with NOS inhibition. Chondrocytes in cold preserved allograft material may be metabolically suppressed predisposing the graft to failure in vivo. Minimizing this loss of metabolic function by gradual graft rewarming and decreasing NO production by NOS inhibition at the time of graft implantation may have implications on graft survival in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage / anatomy & histology*
  • Cartilage / physiology
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Survival
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature
  • Dogs
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Preservation, Biological
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Temperature


  • Proteoglycans
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase