The viability and proliferation of human chondrocytes following cryopreservation.
Xia Z., Murray D., Hulley PA., Triffitt JT., Price AJ.
Human articular cartilage samples were retrieved from the resected material of patients undergoing total knee replacement. Samples underwent automated controlled freezing at various stages of preparation: as intact articular cartilage discs, as minced articular cartilage, and as chondrocytes immediately after enzymatic isolation from fresh articular cartilage. Cell viability was examined using a LIVE/DEAD assay which provided fluorescent staining. Isolated chondrocytes were then cultured and Alamar blue assay was used for estimation of cell proliferation at days zero, four, seven, 14, 21 and 28 after seeding. The mean percentage viabilities of chondrocytes isolated from group A (fresh, intact articular cartilage disc samples), group B (following cryopreservation and then thawing, after initial isolation from articular cartilage), group C (from minced cryopreserved articular cartilage samples), and group D (from cryopreserved intact articular cartilage disc samples) were 74.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) 73.1 to 76.3), 47.0% (95% CI 43 to 51), 32.0% (95% CI 30.3 to 33.7) and 23.3% (95% CI 22.1 to 24.5), respectively. Isolated chondrocytes from all groups were expanded by the following mean proportions after 28 days of culturing: group A ten times, group B 18 times, group C 106 times, and group D 154 times. This experiment demonstrated that it is possible to isolate viable chondrocytes from cryopreserved intact human articular cartilage which can then be successfully cultured.