Repair of articular cartilage lesions in aged chickens by allogeneic transplantation of fresh embryonic epiphyses

Ilan Cohen, Eitan Melamed, Dror Robinson, Zvi Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The potential of fresh whole chick epiphyses of embryonic origin to serve as implant material for cartilage defects of aged chicken was tested. Materials and methods: Fresh epiphyses of 11-day-old embryos were collected from 24 animals and transplanted into defects created in the weight-bearing areas of tibiotarsal joint cartilage of 2-year-old chicks. Upon sacrifice, samples were examined macroscopically and microsections were prepared for histology. Results: Macroscopically, control defects remained empty at all the time intervals. Defects of the experimental group were, on the other hand, filled with cartilaginous tissue as early as 2 weeks posttransplantation, although individual epiphyses could still be noted in the implant tissue. At 4 weeks and later, defects were filled with cartilaginous material indistinguishable from hyaline cartilage. Histologically, all grafts remained within the defect's pits, showing mitotic and metabolic activity typical to proliferating hyaline cartilage. The engrafted epiphyses showed a partial incorporation and integration with the surrounding host tissues already at 2 weeks. At 4 weeks and later, the integration was complete. Conclusions: It is concluded that a chick embryonic epiphyseal cartilage is suitable as a graft source for articular cartilage transplantation. The embryonic epiphyses provide immediate inherent stability to the graft and supply a good mix of mesenchymal progenitor cells responsible for the high rate of cell proliferation and adhesion to the differentiated committed chondrocytes of the host that create the typical favorable chondrogenic milieu. Based on the present findings, it is postulated that human embryonic epiphyses may, in the future, represent an alternative source to the commonly used techniques of hyaline cartilage repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-768
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Articular cartilage
  • Cartilage repair
  • Embryonic epiphyses
  • Mesenchymal progenitor cells
  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'Repair of articular cartilage lesions in aged chickens by allogeneic transplantation of fresh embryonic epiphyses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this