Current Issue

Volume 21, Number 2, Jul-Sep (Summer) 2019 , Serial Number: 82 Pages: 150-160

In Vitro and In Vivo Comparison of Different Types of Rabbit Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Cartilage Repair

Mohammad Ali Khalilifar, M.Sc, 1, 2, Mohamadreza Baghaban Eslaminejad, Ph.D, 1, *, Mohammad Ghasemzadeh, Ph.D., 3, Samaneh Hosseini, Ph.D., 1, Hossein Baharvand, Ph.D., 1, 2,
Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology, Cell Science Research Center, Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, ACECR, Tehran, Iran
Department of Developmental Biology, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran
Infertility and Reproductive Health Research Center, Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran
*Corresponding Address: P.O.Box: 16635-148 Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology Cell Science Research Center Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology ACECR Tehran Iran



Systematic studies indicate a growing number of clinical studies that use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for the treatment of cartilage lesions. The current experimental and preclinical study aims to comparatively evaluate the potential of MSCs from a variety of tissues for the treatment of cartilage defect in rabbit’s knee which has not previously been reported.

Materials and Methods

In this experimental study, MSCs isolated from bone marrow (BMMSCs), adipose (AMSCs), and ears (EMSCs) of rabbits and expanded under in vitro culture. The growth rate and differentiation ability of MSCs into chondrocyte and the formation of cartilage pellet were investigated by drawing the growth curve and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), respectively. Then, the critical cartilage defect was created on the articular cartilage (AC) of the rabbit distal femur, and MSCs in collagen carrier were transplanted. The studied groups were as the control (only defect), sham (defect with scaffold), BMMSCs in the scaffold, EMSCs in the scaffold, and EMSCs in the scaffold with cartilage pellets. Histological and the gene expression analysis were performed following the transplantation.


Based on our comparative in vitro investigation, AMSCs possessed the highest growth rate, as well as the lowest chondrogenic differentiation potential. In this context, MSCs of the ear showed a significantly higher growth rate and cartilage differentiation potential than those of bone marrow tissue (P<0.05). According to our in vivo assessments, BMMSC- and EMSC-seeded scaffolds efficiently improved the cartilage defect 4 weeks post-transplantation, while no improvement was observed in the group contained the cartilage pellets.


It seems that the ear contains MSCs that promote cartilage regeneration as much as the conventional MSCs from the bone marrow. Considering a high proliferation rate and easy harvesting of MSCs of the ear, this finding could be of value for the regenerative medicine.