eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2015   Volume No 29 – pages 356-369

Title: Non-destructive monitoring of viability in an ex vivo organ culture model of osteochondral tissue

Author: KM Elson, N Fox, JL Tipper, J Kirkham, RM Hall, J Fisher, E Ingham

Address: School of Biomedical Science, 7.59 Garstang Building, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

E-mail: e.ingham at

Key Words: Organ culture, apoptosis, necrosis, viability monitoring, glucose, lactate dehydrogenase, matrix metalloproteinase, glycosaminoglycan.

Publication date: June 30th 2015

Abstract: Organ culture is an increasingly important tool in research, with advantages over monolayer cell culture due to the inherent natural environment of tissues. Successful organ cultures must retain cell viability. The aim of this study was to produce viable and non-viable osteochondral organ cultures, to assess the accumulation of soluble markers in the conditioned medium for predicting tissue viability. Porcine femoral osteochondral plugs were cultured for 20 days, with the addition of Triton X-100 on day 6 (to induce necrosis), camptothecin (to induce apoptosis) or no toxic additives. Tissue viability was assessed by the tissue destructive XTT (2,3-bis[2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl]-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxyanilide tetrazolium salt) assay method and LIVE/DEAD® staining of the cartilage at days 0, 6 and 20. Tissue structure was assessed by histological evaluation using haematoxylin & eosin and safranin O. Conditioned medium was assessed every 3-4 days for glucose depletion, and levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (AP), glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. Necrotic cultures immediately showed a reduction in glucose consumption, and an immediate increase in LDH, GAG, MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels. Apoptotic cultures showed a delayed reduction in glucose consumption and delayed increase in LDH, a small rise in MMP-2 and MMP-9, but no significant effect on GAGs released into the conditioned medium. The data showed that tissue viability could be monitored by assessing the conditioned medium for the aforementioned markers, negating the need for tissue destructive assays. Physiologically relevant whole- or part-joint organ culture models, necessary for research and pre-clinical assessment of therapies, could be monitored this way, reducing the need to sacrifice tissues to determine viability, and hence reducing the sample numbers necessary.

Article download: Pages 356-369 (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v029a27