Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic degenerative joint disease, causing pain and decreased functionality. MSCs from adipose tissue (ADSCs) are attractive stem cell types thanks to their abundance, ease of harvest and high proliferation potential. ADSCs can be used as cell suspension (SVF) (one-step) or in vitro expanded (two-step). Preclinical studies yet showed the potential of expanded ADSCs in inhibiting OA progression. The amniotic epithelial stem cells (AECs) have regenerative properties similar to those of embryonic ones, are rapidly available, have not ethical concerns and don’t form tumor after transplantation. Currently, no authors evaluated AEC effects in cartilage diseases. This study aims to develop a new minimally invasive biological approach for OA treatment, comparing the therapeutic potential of AECs, ADSCs and SVF in the treatment of experimentally induced OA in sheep.
24 adult female sheep underwent to bilateral, lateral meniscectomy accordingly to Delling et al. The 48 knee joints randomly received an intra-articular injection of expanded allogenic AECs, autologous SVF, autologous expanded ADSCs or saline solution (control), 6 weeks after meniscectomy. After 3 and 6 months from the treatments, joints were evaluated with macroscopy, histology and histomorphometry.
From the preliminary macroscopic evaluations (Figure 1), it was shown that: 1) lateral compartment (red circles) was the most affected by OA; 2) the highest OA signs were observed in the control condyles, especially at 6 months; 3) the best infiltrative treatments were SVF or AEC injections; 4) worst results were obtained with culture expanded ADSCs.
Bilateral, lateral meniscectomy induces OA that gets worse over time. One injection of SVF or AECs, 6 weeks after OA induction, seems to improve the clinical picture, while 1 injection of culture expanded ADSCs doesn’t ameliorate OA signs. These preliminary results will be confirmed by histology and histomorphometry that are in progress.