Sheep condyle model evaluation of bone marrow cell concentrate combined with a scaffold for repair of large osteochondral defects

Maryam Tamaddon, Gordon Blunn, Wei Xu, Maria Elena Alemán Domínguez, Mario Monzón, James Donaldson, John Skinner, Timothy R. Arnett, Ling Wang, Chaozong Liu

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Aims: Minimally manipulated cells, such as autologous bone marrow concentrates (BMC), have been investigated in orthopaedics as both a primary therapeutic and augmentation to existing restoration procedures. However, the efficacy of BMC in combination with tissue engineering is still unclear. In this study, we aimed to determine whether the addition of BMC to an osteochondral scaffold is safe and can improve the repair of large osteochondral defects when compared to the scaffold alone.

Methods: The ovine femoral condyle model was used. Bone marrow was aspirated, concentrated, and used intraoperatively with a collagen/hydroxyapatite scaffold to fill the osteochondral defects (n = 6). Tissue regeneration was then assessed versus the scaffold-only group (n = 6). Histological staining of cartilage with alcian blue and safranin-O, changes in chondrogenic gene expression, microCT, peripheral quantitative CT (pQCT), and force-plate gait analyses were performed. Lymph nodes and blood were analyzed for safety.

Results: The results six months postoperatively showed that there were no significant differences in bone regrowth and mineral density between BMC-treated animals and controls. A significant upregulation of messenger RNA (mRNA) for types I and II collagens in the BMC group was observed, but there were no differences in the formation of hyaline-like cartilage between the groups. A trend towards reduced sulphated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG) breakdown was detected in the BMC group but this was not statistically significant. Functional weightbearing was not affected by the inclusion of BMC.

Conclusion: Our results indicated that the addition of BMC to scaffold is safe and has some potentially beneficial effects on osteochondral-tissue regeneration, but not on the functional endpoint of orthopaedic interest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-689
Number of pages13
JournalBone & Joint Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021


  • bone marrow concentrate
  • osteochondral scaffold
  • minimally manipulated cells
  • osteochondral defects
  • sheep
  • condyles
  • cartilage
  • bone marrow
  • collagens
  • force-plate
  • tissue regeneration
  • alcian blue
  • sulphated glycosaminoglycans
  • UKRI
  • EP/T517793/1


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