Cartilage Samples (cartilage + sample)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Collagen architecture and failure processes in bovine patellar cartilage

Cartilage fails by fibrillation and wearing away. This study was designed to identify the microscopic failure processes in the collagen network of bovine cartilage using scanning electron microscopy. Cartilage samples from fibrillated cartilage from the bovine patella were removed from the bone, fixed, digested to remove proteoglycans, freeze-fractured, and processed for SEM. The architecture of the collagen network in the normal cartilage was first defined, and then the failure processes were identified by examining sites of fibrillation and at crack tips. The bovine patellar cartilage was organised with a superficial layer composed of 3,5 lamina, attached to a sub-superficial tissue by angled bridging fibrils. Collagen in the sub-superficial tissue was organised in lamina oriented in the radial direction up to the transition zone. Failure of the system occurred by cracks forming in superficial layer and lamina, creating flaps of lamina that rolled up into the larger ,fronds'. Larger cracks not following the laminar planes occurred in the transition, mid, and deep zones. Failure at the crack tips in the sub-superficial tissue appeared to be by peeling of collagen fibrils, as opposed to breaking of collagen fibrils, suggesting a ,glue' bonding the collagen fibrils in a parallel fashion. Cracks propagated by breaking these bonds. This bond could be a site of disease action, since weakening of the bond would accelerate crack propagation. [source]

Analyser-based tomography images of cartilage

Ahi S. Issever
Analyser-based imaging expands the performance of X-ray imaging by utilizing not only the absorption properties of X-rays but also the refraction and scatter rejection (extinction) properties. In this study, analyser-based computed tomography has been implemented on imaging an articular cartilage sample, depicting substructural variations, without overlay, at a pixel resolution of 3.6,m. [source]

Immunophenotypic analysis of human articular chondrocytes: Changes in surface markers associated with cell expansion in monolayer culture

Jose Diaz-Romero
Cartilage tissue engineering relies on in vitro expansion of primary chondrocytes. Monolayer is the chosen culture model for chondrocyte expansion because in this system the proliferative capacity of chondrocytes is substantially higher compared to non-adherent systems. However, human articular chondrocytes (HACs) cultured as monolayers undergo changes in phenotype and gene expression known as "dedifferentiation." To gain a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms involved in the dedifferentiation process, our research focused on the characterization of the surface molecule phenotype of HACs in monolayer culture. Adult HACs were isolated by enzymatic digestion of cartilage samples obtained post-mortem. HACs cultured in monolayer for different time periods were analyzed by flow cytometry for the expression of cell surface markers with a panel of 52 antibodies. Our results show that HACs express surface molecules belonging to different categories: integrins and other adhesion molecules (CD49a, CD49b, CD49c, CD49e, CD49f, CD51/61, CD54, CD106, CD166, CD58, CD44), tetraspanins (CD9, CD63, CD81, CD82, CD151), receptors (CD105, CD119, CD130, CD140a, CD221, CD95, CD120a, CD71, CD14), ectoenzymes (CD10, CD26), and other surface molecules (CD90, CD99). Moreover, differential expression of certain markers in monolayer culture was identified. Up-regulation of markers on HACs regarded as distinctive for mesenchymal stem cells (CD10, CD90, CD105, CD166) during monolayer culture suggested that dedifferentiation leads to reversion to a primitive phenotype. This study contributes to the definition of HAC phenotype, and provides new potential markers to characterize chondrocyte differentiation stage in the context of tissue engineering applications. 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

N -acetylcysteine prevents nitric oxide-induced chondrocyte apoptosis and cartilage degeneration in an experimental model of osteoarthritis

Shuji Nakagawa
Abstract We investigated whether N -acetylcysteine (NAC), a precursor of glutathione, could protect rabbit articular chondrocytes against nitric oxide (NO)-induced apoptosis and could prevent cartilage destruction in an experimental model of osteoarthritis (OA) in rats. Isolated chondrocytes were treated with various concentrations of NAC (0,2 mM). Apoptosis was induced by 0.75 mM sodium nitroprusside (SNP) dehydrate, which produces NO. Cell viability was assessed by MTT assay, while apoptosis was evaluated by Hoechst 33342 and TUNEL staining. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and glutathione levels were measured, and expression of p53 and caspase-3 were determined by Western blotting. To determine whether intraarticular injection of NAC prevents cartilage destruction in vivo, cartilage samples of an OA model were subjected to H&E, Safranin O, and TUNEL staining. NAC prevented NO-induced apoptosis, ROS overproduction, p53 up-regulation, and caspase-3 activation. The protective effects of NAC were significantly blocked by buthionine sulfoximine, a glutathione synthetase inhibitor, indicating that the apoptosis-preventing activity of NAC was mediated by glutathione. Using a rat model of experimentally induced OA, we found that NAC also significantly prevented cartilage destruction and chondrocyte apoptosis in vivo. These results indicate that NAC inhibits NO-induced apoptosis of chondrocytes through glutathione in vitro, and inhibits chondrocyte apoptosis and articular cartilage degeneration in vivo. 2009 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 28:156,163, 2010 [source]

ADAM15 exerts an antiapoptotic effect on osteoarthritic chondrocytes via up-regulation of the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis

Beate Bhm
Objective To investigate the capacity of ADAM15, a disintegrin metalloproteinase that is up-regulated in osteoarthritic (OA) cartilage, to protect chondrocytes against apoptosis induced by growth factor deprivation and genotoxic stress. Methods Caspase 3/7 activity was determined in primary OA and ADAM15-transfected T/C28a4 chondrocytes upon exposure to the DNA-damaging agent camptothecin or serum withdrawal. Camptothecin-induced cytotoxicity was determined by measuring cellular ATP content. (Anti-)apoptotic proteins were analyzed by immunoblotting, and levels of messenger RNA (mRNA) for X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) were determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction. RNA interference was applied for down-regulation of ADAM15 and XIAP expression. Immunohistochemistry analysis of normal and OA cartilage samples was performed using XIAP- and ADAM15-specific antibodies. Results ADAM15-transfected chondrocytes cultured on a collagen matrix displayed significantly reduced caspase 3/7 activity upon serum or intermittent matrix withdrawal, compared with vector-transfected control cells. Apoptosis induction by camptothecin exposure also led to significantly elevated caspase 3/7 activity and reduced cell viability of the vector-transfected compared with ADAM15-transfected chondrocytes. Increased levels of activated caspase 3 and cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase were detected in the vector controls. XIAP, an inhibitor of activated caspase 3, was significantly up-regulated (,3-fold) at the protein and mRNA levels in ADAM15-transfected chondrocytes upon camptothecin treatment. Specific down-regulation of either ADAM15 or XIAP in OA chondrocytes led to significant sensitization to camptothecin-induced caspase 3/7 activity. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed low to moderate XIAP expression in normal specimens and markedly increased XIAP staining, colocalizing with ADAM15, in OA cartilage. Conclusion ADAM15 conveys antiapoptotic properties to OA chondrocytes that might sustain their potential to better resist the influence of death-inducing stimuli under pathophysiologic conditions. [source]

SirT1 enhances survival of human osteoarthritic chondrocytes by repressing protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B and activating the insulin-like growth factor receptor pathway

Viktoria Gagarina
Objective The protein deacetylase SirT1 inhibits apoptosis in a variety of cell systems by distinct mechanisms, yet its role in chondrocyte death has not been explored. We undertook the present study to assess the role of SirT1 in the survival of osteoarthritic (OA) chondrocytes in humans. Methods SirT1, protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), and PTP1B mutant expression plasmids as well as SirT1 small interfering RNA (siRNA) and PTP1B siRNA were transfected into primary human chondrocytes. Levels of apoptosis were determined using flow cytometry, and activation of components of the insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR)/Akt pathway was assessed using immunoblotting. OA and normal knee cartilage samples were subjected to immunohistochemical analysis. Results Expression of SirT1 in chondrocytes led to increased chondrocyte survival in either the presence or the absence of tumor necrosis factor ,/actinomycin D, while a reduction of SirT1 by siRNA led to increased chondrocyte apoptosis. Expression of SirT1 in chondrocytes led to activation of IGFR and the downstream kinases phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, phosphoinosite-dependent protein kinase 1, mTOR, and Akt, which in turn phosphorylated MDM2, inhibited p53, and blocked apoptosis. Activation of IGFR occurs at least in part via SirT1-mediated repression of PTP1B. Expression of PTP1B in chondrocytes increased apoptosis and reduced IGFR phosphorylation, while down-regulation of PTP1B by siRNA significantly decreased apoptosis. Examination of cartilage from normal donors and OA patients revealed that PTP1B levels are elevated in OA cartilage in which SirT1 levels are decreased. Conclusion For the first time, it has been demonstrated that SirT1 is a mediator of human chondrocyte survival via down-regulation of PTP1B, a potent proapoptotic protein that is elevated in OA cartilage. [source]

Sex differences of chondrogenic progenitor cells in late stages of osteoarthritis

Sebastian Koelling
Objective Osteoarthritis (OA), a mainly degenerative disease, is known to be multifactorial in origin. Gene expression patterns vary between populations and sexes. Sex hormone receptors have been described in the cartilage tissue of animals and humans. We undertook this study to determine whether the regenerative potential of chondrogenic progenitor cells (CPCs) present in the arthritic tissue during the late stages of human OA might also be subject to sex-specific differences and influenced by sex steroids. Methods We analyzed sex-specific differences in the regenerative potential of CPCs and the involvement of sex hormones in vitro in cartilage samples from patients with late-stage knee OA, using electrochemiluminescence immunoassay, microarray analysis, real-time reverse transcription,polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and cell culture. Results We detected expression of estrogen and testosterone in the OA synovial fluid as well as CPCs positive for estrogen receptor , (ER,), ER,, and androgen receptor. Both hormones influenced the expression of all 3 receptor genes as well as the chondrogenic potential of CPCs by regulating gene expression of Sox9, Runx2, type II collagen, and type I collagen. We found regulatory effects on the collagens via Sox9 and Runx2 as well as regulatory effects independent of these transcription factors. These effects were sex-specific and relied on hormone concentrations. Conclusion Physiologic concentrations of testosterone in men and premenopausal concentrations of estrogen in women have a positive effect on the chondrogenic potential of CPCs in vitro. Therefore, strategies of hormone replacement in the synovial fluid of women and men might have beneficial effects on the regenerative potential of arthritic cartilage tissue in late stages of human OA. [source]

Comparative analysis of gene expression profiles between primary knee osteoarthritis and an osteoarthritis endemic to Northwestern China, Kashin-Beck disease

Chen Duan
Objective To investigate the differences in gene expression profiles of adult articular cartilage from patients with Kashin-Beck disease (KBD) versus those with primary knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods The messenger RNA expression profiles of articular cartilage from patients with KBD, diagnosed according to the clinical criteria for KBD in China, were compared with those of cartilage from patients with OA, diagnosed according to the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities OA Index. Total RNA was isolated separately from 4 pairs of the KBD and OA cartilage samples, and the expression profiles were evaluated by Agilent 444k Whole Human Genome density oligonucleotide microarray analysis. The microarray data for selected transcripts were confirmed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription,polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplification. Results For 1.2 104 transcripts, corresponding to 58.4% of the expressed transcripts, 2-fold changes in differential expression were revealed. Expression levels higher in KBD than in OA samples were observed in a mean SD 6,439 1,041 (14.6 2.4%) of the transcripts, and expression levels were lower in KBD than in OA samples in 6,147 1,222 (14.2 2.8%) of the transcripts. After application of the selection criteria, 1.85% of the differentially expressed genes (P < 0.001 between groups) were detected. These included 233 genes, of which 195 (0.4%) were expressed at higher levels and 38 (0.08%) were expressed at lower levels in KBD than in OA cartilage. Comparisons of the quantitative RT-PCR data supported the validity of our microarray data. Conclusion Differences between KBD and OA cartilage exhibited a similar pattern among all 4 of the pairs examined, indicating the presence of disease mechanisms, mainly chondrocyte matrix metabolism, cartilage degeneration, and apoptosis induction pathways, which contribute to cartilage destruction in KBD. [source]

Proliferative remodeling of the spatial organization of human superficial chondrocytes distant from focal early osteoarthritis

Bernd Rolauffs
Objective Human superficial chondrocytes show distinct spatial organizations, and they commonly aggregate near osteoarthritic (OA) fissures. The aim of this study was to determine whether remodeling or destruction of the spatial chondrocyte organization might occur at a distance from focal (early) lesions in patients with OA. Methods Samples of intact cartilage (condyles, patellofemoral groove, and proximal tibia) lying distant from focal lesions of OA in grade 2 joints were compared with location-matched nondegenerative (grade 0,1) cartilage samples. Chondrocyte nuclei were stained with propidium iodide, examined by fluorescence microscopy, and the findings were recorded in a top-down view. Chondrocyte arrangements were tested for randomness or significant grouping via point pattern analyses (Clark and Evans Aggregation Index) and were correlated with the OA grade and the surface cell densities. Results In grade 2 cartilage samples, superficial chondrocytes were situated in horizontal patterns, such as strings, clusters, pairs, and singles, comparable to the patterns in nondegenerative cartilage. In intact cartilage samples from grade 2 joints, the spatial organization included a novel pattern, consisting of chondrocytes that were aligned in 2 parallel lines, building double strings. These double strings correlated significantly with an increased number of chondrocytes per group and an increased corresponding superficial zone cell density. They were observed in all grade 2 condyles and some grade 2 tibiae, but never in grade 0,1 cartilage. Conclusion This study is the first to identify a distinct spatial reorganization of human superficial chondrocytes in response to distant early OA lesions, suggesting that proliferation had occurred distant from focal early OA lesions. This spatial reorganization may serve to recruit metabolically active units as an attempt to repair focal damage. [source]

Mechanical injury potentiates proteoglycan catabolism induced by interleukin-6 with soluble interleukin-6 receptor and tumor necrosis factor , in immature bovine and adult human articular cartilage

Yihong Sui
Objective Traumatic joint injury can damage cartilage and release inflammatory cytokines from adjacent joint tissue. The present study was undertaken to study the combined effects of compression injury, tumor necrosis factor , (TNF,), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and its soluble receptor (sIL-6R) on immature bovine and adult human knee and ankle cartilage, using an in vitro model, and to test the hypothesis that endogenous IL-6 plays a role in proteoglycan loss caused by a combination of injury and TNF,. Methods Injured or uninjured cartilage disks were incubated with or without TNF, and/or IL-6/sIL-6R. Additional samples were preincubated with an IL-6,blocking antibody Fab fragment and subjected to injury and TNF, treatment. Treatment effects were assessed by histologic analysis, measurement of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) loss, Western blot to determine proteoglycan degradation, zymography, radiolabeling to determine chondrocyte biosynthesis, and Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to determine chondrocyte production of IL-6. Results In bovine cartilage samples, injury combined with TNF, and IL-6/sIL-6R exposure caused the most severe GAG loss. Findings in human knee and ankle cartilage were strikingly similar to those in bovine samples, although in human ankle tissue, the GAG loss was less severe than that observed in human knee tissue. Without exogenous IL-6/sIL-6R, injury plus TNF, exposure up-regulated chondrocyte production of IL-6, but incubation with the IL-6,blocking Fab significantly reduced proteoglycan degradation. Conclusion Our findings indicate that mechanical injury potentiates the catabolic effects of TNF, and IL-6/sIL-6R in causing proteoglycan degradation in human and bovine cartilage. The temporal and spatial evolution of degradation suggests the importance of transport of biomolecules, which may be altered by overload injury. The catabolic effects of injury plus TNF, appeared partly due to endogenous IL-6, since GAG loss was partially abrogated by an IL-6,blocking Fab. [source]

SIRT1 regulation of apoptosis of human chondrocytes

Koji Takayama
Objective SIRT1 is known to inhibit apoptosis and to promote survival of various types of cells. However, the roles of SIRT1 in apoptosis of human chondrocytes have never been reported. We undertook this study to investigate the relationship of SIRT1 to apoptosis of human chondrocytes, which is a characteristic feature of osteoarthritis (OA). Methods The expression of SIRT1 in human chondrocytes was examined by reverse transcription,polymerase chain reaction, immunoblotting, and immunohistology of human cartilage samples. The expression of SIRT1 under catabolic, mechanical, and nutritional stresses was investigated by immunoblotting. To examine the effect of SIRT1 on apoptosis, SIRT1 was inhibited by small interfering RNA (siRNA) and activated by resveratrol during nitric oxide (NO),induced apoptosis. TUNEL staining and immunoblotting of cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) were performed to detect apoptosis. To examine the mechanisms of apoptosis, we used immunoblotting to determine the levels of cleaved caspases and mitochondria-related apoptotic signaling proteins, Bax and Bcl-2, in the mitochondrial fraction. Results SIRT1 expression was confirmed in human chondrocytes and human cartilage samples. All catabolic, mechanical, and nutritional stresses inhibited SIRT1 expression. SIRT1 inhibition by siRNA for SIRT1 increased the percentage of TUNEL-positive cells and increased the amounts of cleaved PARP and cleaved caspases 3 and 9 induced by NO. In contrast, treatment with resveratrol decreased the percentage of TUNEL-positive cells and decreased the amounts of cleaved PARP and cleaved caspases 3 and 9 induced by NO. Furthermore, in the mitochondrial fraction, SIRT1 inhibition by siRNA for SIRT1 increased the amount of Bax but reduced the amount of Bcl-2, while resveratrol reduced the amount of Bax but increased the amount of Bcl-2. Conclusion These results indicate that SIRT1 regulates apoptosis in human chondrocytes through the modulation of mitochondria-related apoptotic signals. Further research on SIRT1 might contribute to resolving the pathogenesis of OA. [source]

Role of p53 in human chondrocyte apoptosis in response to shear strain

Shingo Hashimoto
Objective Chondrocyte apoptosis plays an important role in cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritis (OA), and mechanical injury to cartilage induces chondrocyte apoptosis. In response to DNA damage, p53 expression is up-regulated, transcription activity is increased, and apoptosis signals are initiated. The p53-regulated apoptosis-inducing protein 1 (p53AIP-1) is one of the p53-regulated genes, and is activated in response to DNA damage. This study was undertaken to analyze p53 function after induction of apoptosis by shear strain in chondrocytes. Methods OA cartilage samples were obtained from subjects undergoing total knee replacement surgery, and normal cartilage samples were obtained from subjects undergoing surgery for femoral neck fracture. Chondrocytes were isolated from human cartilage and cultured. Expression of p53 and p53AIP in chondrocytes was detected by reverse transcriptase,polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. Shear strain was introduced in normal human knee chondrocytes. To explore p53 function, normal human knee chondrocytes were pretreated with pifithrin-, or p53 small interfering RNA (siRNA) before induction of shear strain. Chondrocyte apoptosis was detected by expression of cleaved caspase 9 with Western blotting and TUNEL staining. Expression of p53 and p53AIP-1 was analyzed by Western blotting. Results OA and normal chondrocytes expressed p53. OA chondrocytes showed much higher expression of p53 and p53AIP-1 than did normal chondrocytes. TUNEL-positive cells and expression of p53, p53AIP-1, and cleaved caspase 9 were increased by shear strain, but chondrocyte apoptosis was suppressed after pretreatment with pifithrin-, or p53 siRNA. Conclusion Our findings indicate that p53 and p53AIP-1 play important roles in human chondrocyte apoptosis. Down-regulation of p53 expression prevents cartilage from undergoing apoptosis introduced by shear strain. [source]

Regulation of autophagy in human and murine cartilage: Hypoxia-inducible factor 2 suppresses chondrocyte autophagy

Jolene Bohensky
Objective We have previously demonstrated that the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) promotes the onset of autophagy in chondrocytes. The overall goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that another HIF family transcription factor, HIF-2, modulates the induction of autophagy by chondrocytes. Methods Expression of HIF-1, HIF-2, and light chain 3 (LC3) in human and murine articular cartilage was visualized by immunohistochemistry. Suppression of HIF-2 was achieved using small interfering RNA technology. Assessments of autophagic flux and lysosomal activity, as well as ultrastructural analysis, were performed in chondrocytes in cell culture. Results HIF-2 was expressed abundantly by cells in human and murine articular cartilage and in the cartilage of mineralizing vertebrae from neonatal mice. Protein levels were reduced in articular cartilage from older mice, in end-plate cartilage from mice, and in chondrocytes from human osteoarthritic (OA) cartilage. HIF-2 was robustly expressed in the prehypertrophic cells of mouse growth cartilage. When HIF-2, was silenced, the generation of reactive oxygen species was found to be elevated, with a concomitant decrease in catalase and superoxide dismutase activity. Suppression of HIF-2 was associated with decreased Akt-1 and mammalian target of rapamycin activities, reduced Bcl-xL expression, and a robust autophagic response, even under nutrient-replete conditions. In these silenced chondrocytes, HIF-1 expression was elevated. Decreased HIF-2 expression was associated with autophagy in OA tissues and aging cartilage samples. The autophagic response of chondrocytes in HIF-2,,knockout mouse growth plate showed an elevated autophagic response throughout the plate. Conclusion Based on these observations, we conclude that HIF-2 is a potent regulator of autophagy in maturing chondrocytes. Our data suggest that this protein acts as a brake on the autophagy-accelerator function of HIF-1. [source]

Expression of MicroRNA-146a in osteoarthritis cartilage

Keiichiro Yamasaki
Objective A role of microRNA, which are ,22-nucleotide noncoding RNAs, has recently been recognized in human diseases. The objective of this study was to identify the expression pattern of microRNA-146a (miR-146a) in cartilage from patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Methods The expression of miR-146a in cartilage from 15 patients with OA was analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription,polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by in situ hybridization. Induction of the expression of miR-146a by cultures of normal human articular chondrocytes following stimulation with interleukin-1, (IL-1,) was examined by quantitative RT-PCR. Results All cartilage samples were divided into 3 groups according to a modification of the Mankin score (grade I = mild OA scored 0,5, grade II = moderate OA scored 6,10, and grade III = severe OA scored 11,14). In grade I OA cartilage samples, the expression of miR-146a and COL2A1 was significantly higher than that in the other groups (P < 0.05). In grades II and III OA cartilage, the expression of miR-146a and COL2A1 was decreased, whereas the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13) was elevated in grade II OA cartilage. These data showed that miR-146a is expressed intensely in cartilage with a low Mankin grade and that miR-146a expression decreases in parallel with the level of MMP-13 expression. Tissue section in situ hybridization of primary miR-146a (pri-miR-146a) revealed that pri-miR-146a was expressed in chondrocytes residing in all tissue layers, especially in the superficial layer, where it was intensely expressed. The expression of miR-146 was markedly elevated by IL-1, stimulation in human chondrocytes in vitro. Conclusion This study shows that miR-146 is intensely expressed in low-grade OA cartilage and that its expression is induced by stimulation of IL-1,. Thus, miR-146 might play a role in OA cartilage pathogenesis. [source]

Specific enzymatic treatment of bovine and human articular cartilage: Implications for integrative cartilage repair

P. K. Bos
Objective Chondrocyte death in articular cartilage wound edges and the subsequent lack of matrix-producing cells in the interface area are considered to be a major cause of impaired cartilage wound healing and poor integrative cartilage repair. This study was undertaken to investigate whether enzymatic matrix digestion can be used to stimulate integrative cartilage repair via a mechanism of local increase in the amount of vital chondrocytes in cartilage wound edges. Methods Full-thickness bovine articular cartilage samples were cultured in vitro for 14 days in standard medium. Samples were either left untreated or treated for 48 hours with 0.3% hyaluronidase or 30 units/ml highly purified collagenase VII. Nuclear and cytoplasmic changes were analyzed to determine cell viability, and the number of vital chondrocytes in wound edges was determined. Subsequently, we investigated whether increased chondrocyte density in the lesion edges resulted in better wound healing. Finally, full-thickness human tibial plateau cartilage explants were tested with similar enzyme treatment protocols to determine the clinical value of our results. Results In bovine explants a rapid onset of chondrocyte death was observed in wound edges in all treatment groups. This led to low chondrocyte density in a band of 0,150 ,m from the lesion edges in untreated and hyaluronidase-treated explants. Treatment with 30 units/ml collagenase resulted in a significant increase in chondrocyte density in this area. The integration experiments demonstrated improved integration of the lesion edges after treatment with collagenase. In human articular cartilage an increase in chondrocyte density at the lesion edges could also be achieved, but only when proteoglycans were depleted from the wound edges prior to collagenase treatment. Conclusion Treatment with highly purified collagenase improves integrative cartilage repair, possibly by increasing the cell density at cartilage wound edges. [source]