Short exposure to tranexamic acid does not affect, in vitro, the viability of human chondrocytes

Remo Goderecci, Ilaria Giusti, Stefano Necozione, Benedetta Cinque, Sandra D'Ascenzo, Vincenza Dolo, Vittorio Calvisi
European Journal of Medical Research 2019 February 22, 24 (1): 15

BACKGROUND: Only few studies have investigated the effect of topical application of tranexamic acid (TXA) on "minimally" invasive joint surgical procedures in which articular cartilage is preserved; for this reason, actually many surgeons avoid the use of topical TXA even if the disadvantage related to a blood loss can occur. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cytotoxicity, on human chondrocytes, of TXA at different concentrations and times of exposure and the mechanisms of cell death.

METHODS: Experiments were carried out on isolated human chondrocytes harvested from eight patients who underwent total knee replacement. Cell viability was determined using XTT assay and was assessed at 0, 24 and 48 h intervals after a 10-min-long treatment, followed by thorough washes, or at 24 and 48 h of treatment at TXA concentrations of 20, 50, 70 and 100 mg/ml. Cell cycle alterations and occurrence of cell death for apoptosis or necrosis were assessed by cytofluorimetry. Data were analyzed using Proc Mixed Procedure; LSMEANS was used to compare multiple group means with Tukey's honestly significant difference test.

RESULTS: A significant correlation between the controlled for factors (type of treatment, time and concentration) was found in the performed experiment. No significant effect on cell viability was observed when the TXA exposure was limited to 10 min, while for increased exposure, 24 and 48 h, a remarkable reduction was found; cell death occurred by apoptosis and was already appreciable after 24 h, reaching a statistical significance after the 48-h-long treatment.

CONCLUSION: A prolonged exposure to TXA may cause cartilage damage, thus its topical application can be expanded also to clinical scenarios that include retention of native cartilage chondrocytes, only if it is limited to few minutes and used at concentrations of 70 mg/ml or less.

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