Bone marrow stem cells as a potential treatment of experimentally induced cartilage defects in the knee joint of adult male albino rats

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Spontaneous proper healing of articular cartilage trauma in adults is rare and osteoarthritis might develop as a result. Cultured bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) could differentiate into chondrocytes, and might thus be a good choice for treating such trauma.

Aim of the work

To assess the efficacy of an intraarticular injection of BM-MSCs derived from young albino rats in the repair of an induced chondral defect in the knee joints of adult albino rats.

Materials and methods

Six young male albino rats were used as a source of BM-MSCs. In addition, 30 adult male albino rats were divided into four groups. Group I served as a control. Group II served as a model of a chondral defect. Group III was subdivided into subgroups IIIa and IIIb, in which a cartilage defect was induced and sacrificed after 4 and 8 weeks, respectively. Group IV was subdivided into subgroups IVa and IVb, in which a cartilage defect was induced and injected intraarticularly by BM-MSCs suspended in hyaluronic acid (HA) in the right knees and HA alone into their left knees and then sacrificed after 4 and 8 weeks, respectively. Histological, immunohistochemical, and statistical studies were performed.


Group III showed healing of the defect by fibrous tissue. However, BM-MSCs-injected knees healed by hyaline-like cartilage, whereas the HA injection induced healing by fibrocartilage.

Conclusion and recommendation

Intraarticular injections of BM-MSCs suspended in HA promoted healing of an articular cartilage defect by hyaline cartilage. Thus, it is recommended to treat a traumatic articular cartilage injury by BM-MSCs.

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