Meniscus allograft transplantations (MATs) represent established surgical procedures with proven outcomes. Yet, storage as frozen specimens and limited cellular repopulation may impair graft viability. This proof-of-concept study tests the feasibility of injecting allogeneic mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) in meniscus allograft tissue. We investigated the injectable cell quantity, survival rate, migration, and proliferation ability of MSCs up to 28 days of incubation. In this controlled laboratory study, seven fresh-frozen human allografts were injected with human allogeneic MSCs. Cells were labeled and histological characteristics were microscopically imaged up to 28 days. Mock-injected menisci were included as negative controls in each experiment. Toluidine blue staining demonstrated that a 100-µl volume can be injected while retracting and rotating the inserted needle. Immediately after injection, labeled MSCs were distributed throughout the injection channel and eventually migrated into the surrounding tissues. Histological assessment revealed that MSCs cluster in disc-like shapes, parallel to the intrinsic lamination of the meniscus and around the vascular network. Quantification showed that more than 60% of cells were present in horizontally injected grafts and more than 30% were observed in vertically injected samples. On Day 14, cells adopted a spindle-shaped morphology and exhibited proliferative and migratory behaviors. On Day 28, live/dead ratio assessment revealed an approximately 80% cell survival. The study demonstrated the feasibility of injecting doses of MSCs (>0.1 million) in meniscus allograft tissue with active cell proliferation, migration, and robust cell survival.
Keywords: allograft; knee; meniscus; mesenchymal stromal cell; viability.
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Orthopaedic Research ® published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Orthopaedic Research Society.