Despite the susceptibility to frequent intrinsic and extrinsic injuries, especially in the inner zone, the meniscus does not heal spontaneously owing to its poor vascularity. In this study, the effect of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), containing various growth factors, on meniscal mechanisms was examined under normal and post-traumatic inflammatory conditions. Isolated primary meniscal cells of New Zealand white (NZW) rabbits were incubated for 3, 10, 14 and 21 days with PRP(-), 10% PRP (PRP(+)), IL(+) or IL(+)PRP(+). The meniscal cells were collected and examined using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Culture media were examined by immunoblot analyses for matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) catabolic molecules. PRP containing growth factors improved the cellular viability of meniscal cells in a concentration-dependent manner at Days 1, 4 and 7. However, based on RT-PCR, meniscal cells demonstrated dedifferentiation, along with an increase in type I collagen in the PRP(+) and in IL(+)PRP(+). In PRP(+), the aggrecan expression levels were lower than in the PRP(-) until Day 21. The protein levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3 were higher in each PRP group, i.e., PRP(+) and IL(+)PRP(+), at each culture time. A reproducible 2-mm circular defect on the meniscus of NZW rabbit was used to implant fibrin glue (control) or PRP in vivo. After eight weeks, the lesions in the control and PRP groups were occupied with fibrous tissue, but not with meniscal cells. This study shows that PRP treatment of the meniscus results in an increase of catabolic molecules, especially those related to IL-1α-induced inflammation, and that PRP treatment for an in vivo meniscus injury accelerates fibrosis, instead of meniscal cartilage.
Keywords: MMPs; collagen; meniscal cells; platelet-rich plasma; proteoglycan.