Bone marrow concentrate and platelet-rich plasma differ in cell distribution and interleukin 1 receptor antagonist protein concentration

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2018 Jan;26(1):333-342. doi: 10.1007/s00167-016-3981-9. Epub 2016 Feb 1.


Purpose: Bone marrow concentrate (BMC) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are used extensively in regenerative medicine. The aim of this study was to determine differences in the cellular composition and cytokine concentrations of BMC and PRP and to compare two commercial BMC systems in the same patient cohort.

Methods: Patients (29) undergoing orthopaedic surgery were enrolled. Bone marrow aspirate (BMA) was processed to generate BMC from two commercial systems (BMC-A and BMC-B). Blood was obtained to make PRP utilizing the same system as BMC-A. Bone marrow-derived samples were cultured to measure colony-forming units, and flow cytometry was performed to assess mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) markers. Cellular concentrations were assessed for all samples. Catabolic cytokines and growth factors important for cartilage repair were measured using multiplex ELISA.

Results: Colony-forming units were increased in both BMCs compared to BMA (p < 0.0001). Surface markers were consistent with MSCs. Platelet counts were not significantly different between BMC-A and PRP, but there were differences in leucocyte concentrations. TGF-β1 and PDGF were not different between BMC-A and PRP. IL-1ra concentrations were greater (p = 0.0018) in BMC-A samples (13,432 pg/mL) than in PRP (588 pg/mL). The IL-1ra/IL-1β ratio in all BMC samples was above the value reported to inhibit IL-1β.

Conclusions: The bioactive factors examined in this study have differing clinical effects on musculoskeletal tissue. Differences in the cellular and cytokine composition between PRP and BMC and between BMC systems should be taken into consideration by the clinician when choosing a biologic for therapeutic application.

Level of evidence: Clinical, Level II.

Keywords: Bone marrow concentrate; IL-1ra; Interleukin 1 receptor antagonist; MSCs; PRP; Platelet-rich plasma.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma / cytology
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma / metabolism*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stem Cells
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • IL1RN protein, human
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1