Efforts to expand treatment options for articular cartilage repair have increasingly focused on the implantation of cell-polymer constructs. The purpose of this study is to determine the suitability of porous D,D-L,L-polylactic acid as a carrier for delivering repair cells obtained from rib perichondrium into full-thickness articular cartilage defects. In vitro characterization of perichondrocyte-polylactic acid composite grafts was combined with in vivo assessment of the early articular cartilage repair in a clinically relevant model. Using a fluorescent double-stain protocol to visualize live and dead cells in situ, primary cells cultured from perichondrium were found to be capable of attaching to and surviving within a porous D,D-L,L-polylactic acid matrix. These perichondrocyte-polylactic acid composite grafts were then implanted within osteochondral defects drilled into the left medial femoral condyles of 16 adult New Zealand white rabbits. Experimental animals were sacrificed 6 weeks after implantation and the repair tissue was evaluated grossly, histologically, and biochemically. Grossly, 96% (15/16) of the experimental animals demonstrated repairs consisting of a smooth, firm neocartilage which appeared similar in color and texture to the surrounding articular surface. Matrix staining for cartilaginous protein was seen surrounding chondrocyte-like cells in the cartilage regions of the repair. Cellular alignment was found to be related to scaffold architecture. These results suggest that scaffolds composed of porous D,D-L,L-polylactic acid support the growth of cartilaginous repair tissue and are compatible with both in vitro and in vivo survival of chondrogenic cells.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995RR47700014
View details for PubMedID 8567713