The healing of full-thickness articular cartilage defects in rabbits: successful results with fibroblast growth factor
Mahmut Argün1, Mithat Öner1, Ahmet Güney1, Mehmet Halıcı1, Oğuz Temizyürek1, Özlem Canöz2
1Departments of Orthopedics and Traumatology
2Pathology, Medical Faculty of Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Keywords: Articular; cartilage; fibroblast growth factor 2.
Objectives: This experimental study aims to compare the effects of three techniques; free autogenous periosteal graft, demineralized bone matrix (DBM) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) combined with periosteal graft on the healing of full thickness joint cartilage defects in rabbits. Materials and methods: This study used 87 adolescent 16 week-old New Zealand rabbits of both sexes, with an approximate weight of 2500-3750 g. The rabbits were randomly divided into four groups including a control group and three experimental groups. Cartilage defects were created in the posterior weight-bearing area of the medial femoral condyles of the rabbits. The surfaces of the osteochondral defects were covered with free autogenous periosteal graft, DBM and periosteal graft combined with bFGF in the experimental groups respectively. The rabbits were sacrificed at 4, 8 and 12 weeks postoperatively. Macroscopic and microscopic evaluations were performed.
Results: Periosteal grafts and DBM respond to the repair of cartilage defects in varying degrees. Although the macroscopic evaluation scores were higher in the bFGF group, there was no statistically significant difference between groups (p>0.05). The total scores on the histological grading scale were significantly higher in the bFGF group and control group than the other groups at 4th and 8th weeks (p<0.05). At the 12th week the total score was significantly higher in the bFGF group than the other three groups (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The application of bFGF promoted regeneration of articular cartilage and led to successful cartilaginous resurfacing of defects within 12 weeks. We suggest that bFGF when combined with periosteal grafts may have excellent repair capacity in the restoration of osteochondral defects.