Modernizing Storage Conditions for Fresh Osteochondral Allografts by Optimizing Viability at Physiologic Temperatures and Conditions

Janet M. Denbeigh, Mario Hevesi, Carlo A. Paggi, Zachary T. Resch, Leila Bagheri, Kristin Mara, Arvin Arani, Chenghao Zhang, A. Noelle Larson, Daniel B.F. Saris, Aaron J. Krych, Andre J. van Wijnen

Published: 01/01/2019


Objective. Osteochondral allograft (OCA) transplantation has demonstrated good long-term outcomes in treatment of cartilage defects. Viability, a key factor in clinical success, decreases with peri-implantation storage at 4°C during pathogen testing, matching logistics, and transportation. Modern, physiologic storage conditions may improve viability and enhance outcomes. Design. Osteochondral specimens from total knee arthroplasty patients (6 males, 5 females, age 56.4 ± 2.2 years) were stored in media and incubated at normoxia (21% O2) at 22°C or 37°C, and hypoxia (2% O2) at 37°C. Histology, live-dead staining, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed 24 hours after harvest and following 7 days of incubation. Tissue architecture, cell viability, and gene expression were analyzed. Results. No significant viability or gene expression deterioration of cartilage was observed 1-week postincubation at 37°C, with or without hypoxia. Baseline viable cell density (VCD) was 94.0% ± 2.7% at day 1. At day 7, VCD was 95.1% (37°C) with normoxic storage and 92.2% (37°C) with hypoxic storage (P ≥ 0.27). Day 7 VCD (22°C) incubation was significantly lower than both the baseline and 37°C storage values (65.6%; P < 0.01). COL1A1, COL1A2, and ACAN qPCR expression was unchanged from baseline (P < 0.05) for all storage conditions at day 7, while CD163 expression, indicative of inflammatory macrophages and monocytes, was significantly lower in the 37°C groups (P < 0.01). Conclusion. Physiologic storage at 37°C demonstrates improved chondrocyte viability and metabolism, and maintained collagen expression compared with storage at 22°C. These novel findings guide development of a method to optimize short-term fresh OCA storage, which may lead to improved clinical results.

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