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Regeneration Using Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Sheets in a Rabbit Meniscal Defect Model Improves Tensile Strength and Load Distribution Function of the Meniscus at 12 Weeks

      Purpose

      The purpose of this study was to evaluate the mechanical properties, such as the tensile strength and load distribution function, of the meniscus tissue regenerated using adipose-derived stem cell (ADSC) sheets in a rabbit meniscal defect model.

      Methods

      ADSC sheets were prepared from adipose tissue of rabbits. The anterior half of the medial meniscus was removed from both knees. One knee was transplanted with an ADSC sheet; the contralateral knee was closed without transplantation. Mechanical tests were performed at 4 and 12 weeks posttransplantation. In the tensile test, tensile force was applied to the entire medial meniscus, including the normal area (n = 10/group). Compression tests were performed on the entire knee, with soft tissues other than the ligament removed. A pressure-sensitive film was inserted under the medial meniscus and a 40-N load was applied (n = 5/group).

      Results

      In the tensile test, the elastic modulus in ADSC-treated knees was higher at 12 weeks (ADSC: 70.30 ± 18.50 MPa, control: 43.71 ± 7.11 MPa, P = .009). The ultimate tensile strength (UTS) in ADSC-treated knees at 12 weeks was also higher (ADSC: 22.69 ± 5.87 N, control: 15.45 ± 4.08 N, P = .038). In the compression test, the contact area was larger in the ADSC group at 4 weeks (ADSC: 31.60 ± 8.17 mm2, control: 20.33 ± 2.86 mm2, P = .024) and 12 weeks (ADSC: 41.07 ± 6.09 mm2, control: 30.53 ± 5.47 mm2, P = .04). Peak pressure was significantly lower in ADSC-treated knees at 12 weeks (ADSC: 11.91 ± 1.03 MPa, control: 15.53 ± 2.3 MPa, P = .002).

      Conclusions

      The regenerated meniscus tissue, 12 weeks after transplantation of the ADSC sheets into the meniscal defect area, had high elastic modulus and UTS. In the meniscus-tibia compartment, the contact area was large and the peak pressure was low.

      Clinical Relevance

      ADSC sheets promoted regeneration of meniscus. ADSC sheet transplantation for meniscal defects could be an effective regenerative therapy.
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