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Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Sheets Promote Meniscus Regeneration Regardless of Whether the Defect Involves the Inner Half or the Whole Width of the Anterior Half of the Medial Meniscus in a Rabbit Model

      Purpose

      To investigate the regenerative effect of adipose-derived stem cell (ADSC) sheets in two different rabbit models of meniscal defects.

      Methods

      Forty-two rabbits were randomly divided into two groups: the whole (Group 1) or the inner half (Group 2) of anterior half of the medial meniscus was removed from both knees. The ADSC sheets were transplanted into one knee, whereas in the other knee the meniscal defect was left untreated (self-control). The histological score and expression of genes encoding collagen type I and II (COL1/2), SRY-box transcription factor 9 (SOX9), and aggrecan (ACAN) were compared between the ADSC sheet-treated and untreated menisci at 4 and 12 weeks. The ADSC sheet-treated menisci at 12 weeks were also analyzed immunohistochemically to assess the collagen component.

      Results

      The histological score was significantly higher in the treated side than in the control side at 4 and 12 weeks in both groups (Group 1; P = .016 and .032; Group 2; P = .030 and .016, respectively). All genes evaluated showed significantly higher expression in the treated side than in the control side in both groups, except COL2 and SOX9 at 4 weeks and COL2 at 12 weeks in Group 1, and COL1 in Group 2 at 4 weeks. The ADSC sheet-treated meniscus in Group 1 contained mostly COL1, whereas the Group 2 had less COL1, but was rich in COL2.

      Conclusions

      ADSC sheets can promote meniscal regeneration regardless of whether the defect involves the inner half or whole width of the anterior half of the medial meniscus. However, the collagen component of the ADSC sheet-treated tissue differs depending on the defect site.

      Clinical Relevance

      ADSCs may help meniscal regeneration due to meniscal defects after meniscectomy. This study suggests longer-term follow-up and mechanical analysis as next steps.

      Key Words

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