PURPOSE: The study aimed to compare the effect of mincing bovine articular cartilage with different shaver blades on chondrocyte viability.
METHODS: Bovine articular cartilage was harvested either with a scalpel or with three different shaver blades (2.5 mm, 3.5 mm, or 4.2 mm) from a commercially available shaver. The cartilage harvested with a scalpel was then minced into fragments smaller than 1 mm3 with a scalpel. All four conditions were cultivated in a culture medium for seven days. After Day 1 and Day 7, the following measurements were performed: metabolic activity, RNA isolation, and gene expression of anabolic (COL2A1 and ACAN) and catabolic genes (MMP1 and MMP13), live/dead staining and visualization using confocal microscopy, and flow cytometric characterization of minced cartilage chondrocytes.
RESULTS: Mincing the cartilage with shavers significantly reduced metabolic activity after one and seven days compared to scalpel mincing (p < 0.001). Gene expression of anabolic genes (COL2A1 and ACAN) was reduced, while catabolic genes (MMP1 and MMP13) were increased after day 7 in all shaver conditions. Confocal microscopy showed a thin line of dead cells at the lesion side with viable cells beneath for the scalpel mincing and a higher number of dead cells diffusely distributed in the shaver conditions. After seven days, there was a significant decrease in viable cells in the shaver conditions compared to scalpel mincing (p < 0.05). Flow cytometric characterization revealed fewer intact cells and proportionally more dead cells in all shaver conditions compared to the scalpel mincing.
CONCLUSION: Mincing bovine articular cartilage with commercially available shavers reduces the viability of chondrocytes compared to scalpel mincing immediately after harvest and after seven days in culture. This suggests that mincing cartilage with a shaver should be considered a matrix rather than a cell therapy.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II therapeutic study.
- Cartilage defect
- Chondrocyte viability
- Minced cartilage
- Scalpel mincing
- Shaver mincing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine