Stem cell based tissue engineering for meniscus repair

Peter Angele, Brian Johnstone, Richard Kujat, Johannes Zellner, Michael Nerlich, Victor Goldberg, Jung Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Defects of the meniscus greatly alter knee function and predispose the joint to degenerative changes. The purpose of this study was to test a recently developed cell-scaffold combination for the repair of a critical-size defect of the rabbit medial meniscus. A bilateral, complete resection of the pars intermedia of the medial meniscus was performed in 18 New Zealand White rabbits. A hyaluronan/gelatin composite scaffold was implanted into the defect of one knee of 6 rabbits and the contralateral defect was left untreated. Scaffolds loaded with autologous marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and cultured in a chondrogenic medium for 14 days were implanted in a second series of 12 rabbits. Empty scaffolds were implanted in the contralateral knees. Meniscii were harvested at 12 weeks. Untreated defects had a muted fibrous healing response. Defects treated with cell-free implants showed also predominantly fibrous tissue whereas fibrocartilage was present in some scaffolds. The cross-sectional width of the repair tissue after treatment with cell-free scaffolds was significantly greater than controls (p < 0.05). Pre-cultured implants integrated with the host tissue and 8 of 11 contained meniscus-like fibrocartilage, compared with 2 of 11 controls (p < 0.03). The mean cross-sectional width of the pre-cultured implant repair tissue was greater than controls (p < 0.004). This study demonstrates the repair of a critical size meniscal defect with a stem cell and scaffold based tissue engineering approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Collagen scaffolds
  • Hyaluronan scaffolds
  • Meniscus
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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