Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The purpose of the present study was to examine the fate of autologous perichondrial grafts after transplantation into cartilage lesions in weight-bearing joints. Osteochondral lesions were made in the articular surface of knee joints in 36 sheep. The defects were filled with autologous rib perichondrial grafts which were secured by either collagen sponges (12 animals) or fibrin glue (12 animals). Defects without perichondrial grafts served as controls (12 animals). Following 1 week of immobilization of the operated leg, the plaster was removed and the animals were allowed to move freely. Animals were sacrificed after 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks. The grafts were removed and investigated histologically. In contrast to weight-bearing areas and control defects, hyaline-like cartilage formation was seen in non-weightbearing areas after 4 weeks. This newly formed cartilage revealed strong metachromasia following staining with acidic toluidine blue and reacted positively with periodic acid-Schiff, indicating de novo synthesis of proteoglycans and glycoproteins. Scanning electron microscopy and examinations with polarized light confirmed a hyaline cartilage-like architecture for the surface area as well as for the fibre orientation of the whole graft. Enzyme histochemistry for alkaline and acid phosphatase activity showed positive reactivity only at the base of the transplants.
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