Delivery of synovium-resident mesenchymal stem cells (synMSCs) to cartilage defect site might provide a novel therapeutic modality for treatment of articular cartilage diseases. However, low isolation efficiency of synMSCs limits their therapeutic application. Niche-preserving non-enzymatic isolation of synMSCs was firstly attempted by employing micro-organ culture system based on recapitulating tissue-specific homeostasis ex vivo. The isolated synMSCs retained superior long-term growth competency, proliferation and chondrogenic potential to bone marrow-derived MSCs (BMSCs). It was noted that synMSCs demonstrated 9-fold increase in cartilaginous micro-tissue formation and 13-fold increase in sulfated proteoglycans deposition compared to BMSCs. For delivery of synMSCs, fibrous PLGA scaffolds were specifically designed for full-thickness osteochondral defects in rabbits. The scaffolds provided effective micro-environment for growth and host-integration of synMSCs. Combined delivery of synMSCs with bone morphogenetic proteins-7 (BMP-7) was designed to achieve synergistic therapeutic efficacy. BMP-7-loaded PLGA nanoparticles electrosprayed onto the scaffolds released BMP-7 over 2 weeks to conform with its aimed role in stimulating early stage endochondral ossification. Scaffold-supported combined administration of synMSCs with BMP-7 resulted in high proteoglycan and collagen type II induction and thick hyaline cartilage formation. Intra-articular co-delivery of synMSCs with BMP-7 via fibrous PLGA scaffolds may be a promising therapeutic modality for articular cartilage repair.
- Articular cartilage repair
- Bone morphogenetic protein-7
- Combined delivery
- PLGA fibrous scaffold
- Synovium-resident mesenchymal stem cells