Background: The treatment of articular cartilage defects is a therapeutic challenge for orthopaedic surgeons. Furthermore, large osteochondral defects needs restoration of the underlying bone for sufficient biomechanical characteristics as well as the overlying cartilage.
Case presentation: A symptomatic large osteochondral defect in the knee joint was restored using a composite of umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UCB-MSCs) 0.5 x 107/ml and 4% hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogel. Significant improvements in pain and function of the knee joint were identified by the evaluation at 12 months after surgery. A hyaline-like cartilage completely filled the defect and was congruent with the surrounding normal cartilage as revealed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a second-look arthroscopy and histological assessment. The improved clinical outcomes maintained until 5.5 years. MRI also showed the maintenance of the restored bony and cartilaginous tissues.
Conclusion: This case report suggests that the composite of allogeneic UCB-MSCs and HA hydrogel can be considered a safe and effective treatment option for large osteochondral defects of the knee.
Keywords: Hyaluronic acid; Knee; Large osteochondral defect; Mesenchymal stem cell; Umbilical cord blood.