Campbell K, Naire S, Herman Kuiper J. A mathematical model of cartilage regeneration after chondrocyte and stem cell implantation – I: the effects of growth factors. J Tissue Eng. 2019 Mar;10:1-16. doi: 10.1177/2041731419827791

Autologous chondrocyte implantation is a cell-based therapy for treating chondral defects. The procedure begins by inserting chondrocytes into the defect region. The chondrocytes initiate healing by proliferating and depositing extracellular matrix, which allows them to migrate into the defect until it is completely filled with new cartilage. Mesenchymal stem cells can be used instead of chondrocytes with similar long-term results. The main differences are at early times since mesenchymal stem cells must first differentiate into chondrocytes before cartilage is formed. To better understand this repair process, we present a mathematical model of cartilage regeneration after cell therapy. We extend our previous work to include the cell–cell interaction between mesenchymal stem cells and chondrocytes via growth factors. Our results show that matrix formation is enhanced at early times in the presence of growth factors. This study reinforces the importance of mesenchymal stem cell and chondrocyte interaction in the cartilage healing process as hypothesised in experimental studies.

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