Partial and full thickness defects were created mechanically in articular cartilage and subchondral bone of the tibiotarsal joint condyles of 3-year-old chickens. The wounds were then repaired using embryonal chick chondrocytes embedded in a new biocompatible, hyaluronic acid-based delivery substance. Controls were similarly operated on but received either no treatment or implants of the delivery substance only. Animals were killed from 1 week to 6 months postoperatively. Sections from the two groups were examined and compared macroscopically, histologically, and histochemically. Results of 6-month follow-up showed that only the defects of the experimental chickens were completely filled with reparative hyaline cartilage tissue, with no signs of inflammation or immunologic rejection. Initially the entire defect cavity, whether partial thickness or full thickness up to the deep regions in the subchondral bone, was filled with cartilaginous reparative tissue. Relatively rapid maturation occurred under the tidemark; chondrocytes hypertrophied, were invaded with vascular elements and ossified. In the superficial areas, the reparative tissue remained cartilaginous and matured as typical hyaline cartilage tissue. These results indicate that aged chicken cartilage and its accompanying thin and spongy osteoporotic bone offer a favorable host environment for embryonal cell implants.
- Articular cartilage regeneration
- Cultured chondrocytes
- Delivery system
- Subchondral bone