PRP for the treatment of cartilage pathology

Open Orthop J. 2013 May 3:7:120-8. doi: 10.2174/1874325001307010120. Print 2013.


In recent years biological strategies are being more widely used to treat cartilage lesions. One of the most exploited novel treatments is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP), whose high content of growth factors is supposed to determine a regenerative stimulus to cartilaginous tissue. Despite many promising in vitro and in vivo studies, when discussing clinical application a clear indication for the use of PRP cannot be assessed. There are initial encouraging clinical data, but only a few randomized controlled trials have been published, so it is not possible to fully endorse this kind of approach for the treatment of cartilage pathology. Furthermore, study comparison is very difficult due to the great variability in PRP preparation methods, cell content and concentration, storage modalities, activation methods and even application protocols. These factors partially explain the lack of high quality controlled trials up to now. This paper discusses the main aspects concerning the basic biology of PRP, the principal sources of variability, and summarizes the available literature on PRP use, both in surgical and conservative treatments. Based on current evidence, PRP treatment should only be indicated for low-grade cartilage degeneration and in case of failure of more traditional conservative approaches.

Keywords: Platelet-rich plasma; cartilage; osteoarthritis.; regenerative medicine.