This study demonstrates that fibrin monomers can be polymerized into moldable gels and used for the encapsulation of isolated chondrocytes. This biologically derived scaffold will maintain three-dimensional spatial support, allowing new tissue development in a subcutaneous space. Chondrocytes isolated from the glenohumeral and humeroradioulnar joints of a calf were combined with cyroprecipitate and polymerized with bovine thrombin to create a fibrin glue gel with a final cell density of 12.5 × 106 cells/ml. The polymer-chondrocyte constructs were implanted subcutaneously in 12 nude mice and incubated for 6 and 12 weeks in vivo. Histologic and biochemical analysis including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and glycosaminoglycan quantitation confirmed the presence of actively proliferating chondrocytes with production of a well-formed cartilaginous matrix in the transplanted samples. Control specimens from 12 implantation sites consisting of chondrocytes alone or fibrin glue substrates did not demonstrate any gross or histologic evidence of neocartilage formation. Moldable autogenous fibrin glue polymer systems have a potential to serve as alternatives to current proprietary polymer systems used for tissue engineering cartilage as well as autogenous grafts and alloplastic materials used for facial skeletal and soft-tissue augmentation. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 101: 1580, 1998.)
Boston and Cambridge, Mass.
From the Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Department of Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Received for publication February 3, 1997; revised June 16, 1997.
Presented at the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons Annual Meeting in Quebec, Canada, in October, 1994; the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in San Francisco, California, in March, 1995; the ASPRS/PSEF/ASMS Annual Meeting, in Montreal, Canada, in October, 1995; and the International Congress of Craniofacial Surgeons, in St. Tropez, France, in October, 1995.
Michael J. Yaremchuk, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Plastic Surgery ACC 4 25 Fruit Street Boston, Mass. 02114