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Comparative assessment of chondral defect repair using migratory chondroprogenitors suspended in either gelled or freeze-dried platelet-rich plasma: An in vitro and ex vivo human osteochondral unit model study.

Knee 2024 April 2
BACKGROUND: Chondroprogenitors, with enhanced chondrogenic potential, have emerged to be a promising alternative for cell-based therapy in cartilage repair. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), widely used for intra-articular treatment, has a short half-life. Freeze-dried PRP (FD-PRP), with an extended half-life and retained growth factors, is gaining attention. This study compares the efficacy of Migratory Chondroprogenitors (MCPs) in gelled PRP and FD-PRP using in-vitro and ex-vivo models, assessing FD-PRP as a potential off-the-shelf option for effective cartilage repair.

METHODOLOGY: MCPs were isolated from osteoarthritic cartilage samples (n = 3), characterized through FACS and RT-PCR. For in-vitro analysis, cells were loaded into gelled PRP and FD-PRP scaffolds at a density of 1x106 cells per scaffold. Trilineage differentiation studies and live-dead assays were conducted on MCPs using Calcein AM/Propidium Homodimer-1. In ex-vivo analysis, MCPs of the same density were added to Osteochondral Units (OCU) with chondral defects containing PRP gel and FD-PRP scaffolds, harvested on the 15th and 35th days for histological examination. Controls included cell-free scaffolds.

RESULTS: Our in-vitro analysis demonstrates the robust viability of MCPs in both scaffolds, with no discernible impact on their differentiation capacity. Ex-vivo analysis of the OCU for cartilage repair showed that the chondrogenic potential characterized by the accumulation of extracellular matrix containing glycosaminoglycans and collagen type II production (with no alteration in collagen type X), was observed to be better with the gel PRP and the gel PRP containing MCP groups.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the preference for gel PRP as a superior synergistic scaffold for chondroprogenitor delivery.

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