Objective: The purpose of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) + microfracture and microfracture treatments in the healing of chronic focal chondral defects.
Methods: The study included 57 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Forty-two rats were divided into three groups of 14 rats with a chondral defect (control, microfracture only, PRP+microfracture). The remaining 15 rats were used to produce the PRP preparation. The rats were then euthanatized at 3 and 6 weeks after treatment and examined. Histological analysis using the modified Pineda scoring system and immunohistochemical staining for Type 2 collagen were performed.
Results: At both time intervals, control group histological scores (Week 3: 8.8±1.2, Week 6: 8.5±0.7) were higher than microfracture (Week 3: 6.8±1.0, Week 6: 7.1±0.6) and PRP+microfracture (Week 3: 6.4±1.3, Week 6: 5.7±1.2) scores (p<0.05). The microfracture group score was higher at Week 6 than the PRP+microfracture group (p<0.05). The degree of Type 2 collagen staining was higher at Week 6 in the PRP+microfracture group and was unique in showing staining at the cell membrane.
Conclusion: The addition of PRP application to microfracture treatment appears to enhance cartilage healing in chronic focal chondral defects.