An investigation of primary human cell sources and clinical scaffolds for articular cartilage repair

  • Nupur Kohli

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Damage to articular cartilage of the knee can be debilitating because it lacks the capacity to repair itself and can progress to degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis. The current gold standard for treating cartilage defects is autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). However, one of the major limitations of ACI is the use of chondrocytes, which dedifferentiate when grown in vitro and lose their phenotype. It is not clear whether the dedifferentiated chondrocytes can fully redifferentiate upon in vivo transplantation.
Studies have suggested that undifferentiated mesenchymal stem or stromal cells (MSCs) from bone marrow (BM) and adipose tissue (AT) can undergo chondrogenic differentiation. Therefore, the main aim of this thesis was to examine BM and AT as a cell source for chondrogenesis using clinical scaffolds. Initially, freshly isolated cells were compared with culture expanded MSCs from BM and AT in Chondro-Gide®, Alpha Chondro Shield® and Hyalofast™. MSCs were shown to grow better in the three scaffolds compared to freshly isolated cells. BM MSCs in Chondro-Gide® were shown to have increased deposition of cartilage specific extracellular matrix (ECM) compared to AT MSCs.
Further, this thesis has sought to examine whether CD271 selected MSCs from AT were more chondrogenic than MSCs selected on the basis of plastic adherence (PA). It was shown that CD271+MSCs may have superior chondrogenic properties in vitro and in vivo in terms of ECM deposition. The repair tissue seen after CD271+MSC transplantation combined with Alpha Chondro Shield® was also less vascularised than that seen after transplantation with PA MSCs in the same scaffold, suggesting antiangiogenic activity. Since articular cartilage is an avascular tissue, CD271+MSCs may be a better suited cell type compared to the PA MSCs. Hence, this study has increased the current understanding of how different cell-scaffold combinations may best be used to promote articular cartilage repair.
Date of Award18 Jan 2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorWilliam E Johnson (Supervisor)


  • bone marrow
  • adipose tissue
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • CD271

Cite this