Devitalization using high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) treatment inactivates cells while matrix structure and biomechanical properties are maintained. Because of strong chondroinductive potential of HHP-devitalized cartilage matrix, it may be used as scaffold for reconstruction of (osteo-)chondral lesions. In this pilot study, we evaluated the feasibility of HHP-devitalized osteochondral tissue to repair osteochondral defects in a rabbit model. Removal and reimplantation of osteochondral plugs were performed in 12 female New Zealand White rabbits. From the knee joint of each animal, osteochondral plugs (diameter = 4 mm; depth = 2.5 mm) were harvested and devitalized by HHP (452 MPa for 10 min). Afterward, the plugs were reimplanted into the respective cavity, from where they were taken. Animals were sacrificed 12 weeks postoperatively and the integration of osteochondral plugs was examined using μ-CT, MRI, and histological staining. Furthermore, revitalization of HHP-treated osteochondral plugs was characterized by gene expression analyses. Macroscopic evaluation of tissue repair at implantation sites of HHP-treated osteochondral plugs showed an adequate defect filling 12 weeks after implantation. Plug margins were hardly detectable indicating successful tissue integration. Additionally, gene expression analyses demonstrated initial revitalization of the HHP-treated tissue 12 weeks postoperatively. Our preliminary data revealed that HHP-treated osteochondral plugs could be used to refill osteochondral defects in the knee joint and promote cell migration into defect site. Data indicated that HHP-treated tissue has the potential to act as functional scaffolds for reconstruction of cartilage defects. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater 107B: 2354-2364, 2019.
Keywords: cartilage repair; devitalization; high hydrostatic pressure; regenerative medicine.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.