Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disease in middle aged and older people. Despite the multiple modalities of treatment, the outcome is still poor and focuses on temporary measures to alleviate the symptoms. Objectives: We want to determine whether or not an intra-articular injection of a single dose of chondrogenic induced bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC) can promote cartilage regeneration in surgically induced osteoarthritis in sheep. Methods: Sheep BMSCs were isolated and divided into two groups. One group was cultured in chondrogenic media containing 5 ng/ml TGFβ3 + 50 ng/ml IGF-1, and the other group was cultured in basal non-chondrogenic media for the duration of 3 weeks. The procedure for surgically inducing osteoarthritis was performed on the donor sheep six weeks prior to intra-articular injection to the knee joint. The injection is a single dose of BMSCs from either group, suspended in 5 ml Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM) at density of 2 million cells/ml. The control groups were injected with basic cell free media. Results: Six weeks after injection, evidence of articular cartilage regeneration and meniscus repair in osteoarthritic knee joints treated with autologous BMSCs cultured in chondrogenic medium were observed. No evidence of regeneration and meniscus repair was observed for the control group and the group treated with BMSCs cultured in basal medium. Conclusions: Intra-articular injection of a single dose of BMSCs in chondrogenic culture could stimulate regeneration of articular cartilage and meniscal tissue.


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