Platelet-rich plasma combined with chondrocytes for construction of injectable tissue-engineered cartilage

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Owing to containing large amounts of growth factors, platelet-rich plasma has been widely used in bone regeneration, wound healing, and so on, while few studies have been reported on cartilage tissue engineering.


To explore the effects of platelet-rich plasma on the proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes, and the feasibility of constructing tissue-engineered cartilage by the combination of chondrocytes and platelet-rich plasma.


We detected the concentrations of transforming growth factor-β, insulin-like growth factor-1, platelet-derived growth factor and epidermal growth factor BB in the whole blood, platelet-rich plasma, and activated platelet-rich plasma. The rabbit articular chondrocytes were cultured in 10%, 15%, 20%, 30% platelet-rich plasma for 7 days, then the cell proliferation was tested by cell counting kit-8, and cartilage-related genes (collagen type II, Aggrecan, Sox-9) were determined using QT-PCR. The chondrocytes/platelet-rich plasma composite was implanted subcutaneously into the rabbits, and the samples were harvested after 6 weeks of transplantation for histological examination.


The levels of different growth factors in the platelet-rich plasma were higher than those in the whole blood (P < 0.05), but lower than those in the activated platelet-rich plasma (P < 0.05). Platelet-rich plasma at different concentrations promoted the proliferation of chondrocytes. When the concentration of platelet-rich plasma was no more than 20%, the proliferation of chondrocytes showed a concentration-dependent manner. The 20% platelet-rich plasma showed the best effects to promote the expression of collagen type II (P < 0.05), while the 15% platelet-rich plasma could maximize the expression of Sox-9 and Aggrecan (P < 0.05). After transplantation of chondrocytes/platelet-rich plasma composite, cartilage-like tissue formed with cartilage lacuna-like structures, and rich extracellular matrix was found, which indicates platelet-rich plasma can be used as an injective scaffold in cartilage tissue engineering.

Subject headings:

platelet-rich plasma; chondrocytes; tissue engineering; cartilage


the Major Project of Changzhou Health Bureau, No. 2D2011008

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