Intraarticular injection of synovial stem cells promotes meniscal regeneration in a rabbit massive meniscal defect model

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We investigated whether single intraarticular injection of synovial MSCs enhanced meniscal regeneration in a rabbit massive meniscal defect model. Synovium were harvested from the knee joint of rabbits, and the colony-forming cells were collected. Two weeks after the anterior half of the medial menisci were excised in both knees, 1 × 107 MSCs in 100 μl PBS were injected into the right knee. The MSC and control groups were compared macroscopically and histologically at 1, 3, 4, and 6 months (n = 4). Articular cartilage of the medial femoral condyle was also evaluated histologically at 6 months. Multipotentiality of the colony-forming cells was confirmed. Injected MSCs labeled with DiI were detected and remained in the meniscal defect at 14 days. The size of meniscus in the MSC group was larger than that in the control group at 1 and 3 months. The difference of the size between the two groups was indistinct at 4 and 6 months. However, histological score was better in the MSC group than in the control group at 1, 3, 4, and 6 months. Macroscopically, the surface of the medial femoral condyle in the control group was fibrillated at 6 months, while looked close to intact in the MSC group. Histologically, defect or thinning of the articular cartilage with sclerosis of the subchondral bone was observed in the control group, contrarily articular cartilage and subchondral bone were better preserved in the MSC group. Synovial MSCs injected into the knee adhered around the meniscal defect, and promoted meniscal regeneration in rabbits. © 2013 Orthopaedic Research Society Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 31:1354–1359, 2013

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