Intra-articular injection of autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis

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Abstract

Background

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic degenerative joint disease and is considered to be the fourth leading cause of disability and the second cause of inability to work in men. Recently, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs) came into focus for regenerative medicine as a promising tool for the treatment of OA. The administration of stem cells into impaired joints results in pain relief and improves quality of life, accompanied by restoration of hyaline articular cartilage.

Methods

In the present study, nine patients (including two patients with bilateral symptoms) diagnosed with osteoarthritis (International Knee Documentation grade B in 5 and grade D in six knees) were treated using a single injection of AD-MSCs at a concentration of 0.5–1.0 × 107 cells and were followed up for 18 months. During follow-up, all the cases were evaluated clinically by Knee Society score (KSS), Hospital for Special Surgery knee score (HSS-KS), Tegner–Lysholm (T–L) score and visual analogue scale (VAS) of pain, as well as by plain radiography and by magnetic resonance imaging visualization with 2D Magnetic Resonance Observation of Cartilage Repair Tissue (MOCART) score assessment.

Results

Significant improvement of all four clinical scores was observed within the first 6 months (KSS for 41.4 points, HSS-KS for 33.9 points, T–L score for 44.8 points, VAS of pain from 54.5 to 9.3) and improvement persisted throughout the rest of the follow-up. MOCART score showed significant cartilage restoration (from 43 ± 7.2 to 63 ± 17.1), whereas radiography showed neither improvement, nor further joint degeneration.

Conclusions

The results obtained in the present study provide good basis for prospective randomized controlled clinical trials with respect to the use of AD-MSCs in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

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