Assessment of clinical and MRI outcomes after mesenchymal stem cell implantation in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a prospective study

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2016 Feb;24(2):237-45. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.08.009. Epub 2015 Aug 28.


Objective: Cartilage regenerative procedures using the cell-based tissue engineering approach involving mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been receiving increased interest because of their potential for altering the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) by repairing cartilage lesions. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) outcomes of MSC implantation in OA knees and to determine the association between clinical and MRI outcomes.

Design: Twenty patients (24 knees) who underwent arthroscopic MSC implantation for cartilage lesions in their OA knees were evaluated at 2 years after surgery. Clinical outcomes were evaluated according to the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score and the Tegner activity scale, and cartilage repair was assessed according to the MRI Osteoarthritis Knee Score (MOAKS) and Magnetic Resonance Observation of Cartilage Repair Tissue (MOCART) score.

Results: The clinical outcomes significantly improved (P < 0.001 for both). The cartilage lesion grades (as described in MOAKS [grades for size of cartilage-loss area and percentage of full-thickness cartilage loss]) at follow-up MRI were significantly better than the preoperative values (P < 0.001 for both). The clinical outcomes at final follow-up were significantly correlated with the MOAKS and MOCART score at follow-up MRI (P < 0.05 for all).

Conclusions: Considering the encouraging clinical and MRI outcomes obtained and the significant correlations noted between the clinical and MRI outcomes, MSC implantation seems to be useful for repairing cartilage lesions in OA knees. However, a larger sample size and long-term studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Keywords: Fibrin glue; Implantation; Knee; Mesenchymal stem cell; Osteoarthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthroscopy
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lysholm Knee Score
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tissue Adhesives / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive
  • Tissue Adhesives