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

2021   Volume No 41 – pages 546-557

Title: Marked differences in local bone remodelling in response to different marrow stimulation techniques in a large animal

Authors: HM Zlotnick, RC Locke, BD Stoeckl, JM Patel, S Gupta, KD Browne, J Koh, JL Carey, RL Mauck

Address: 308A Stemmler Hall, 3450 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-6081, USA.

E-mail: lemauck at

Abstract: Marrow stimulation, including subchondral drilling and microfracture, is the most commonly performed cartilage repair strategy, whereby the subchondral bone plate is perforated to release marrow-derived cells into a cartilage defect to initiate repair. Novel scaffolds and therapeutics are being designed to enhance and extend the positive short-term outcomes of this marrow stimulation. However, the translation of these newer treatments is hindered by bony abnormalities, including bone resorption, intralesional osteophytes, and bone cysts, that can arise after marrow stimulation. In this study, three different marrow stimulation approaches – microfracture, subchondral drilling and needle-puncture – were evaluated in a translationally relevant large-animal model, the Yucatan minipig. The objective of the study was to determine which method of marrow access (malleted awl, drilled Kirschner wire or spring-loaded needle) best preserved the underlying subchondral bone. Fluorochrome labels were injected at the time of surgery and 2 weeks post-surgery to capture bone remodelling over the first 4 weeks. Comprehensive outcome measures included cartilage indentation testing, histological grading, microcomputed tomography and fluorochrome imaging. Findings indicated that needle-puncture devices best preserved the underlying subchondral bone relative to other marrow access approaches. This may relate to the degree of bony compaction occurring with marrow access, as the Kirschner wire approach, which consolidated bone the most, induced the most significant bone damage with marrow stimulation. This study provided basic scientific evidence in support of updated marrow stimulation techniques for preclinical and clinical practice.

Key Words: Bone remodelling, fluorochrome, large-animal models, microfracture, marrow stimulation, drilling.

Publication date: May 19th 2021

Article download: Pages 546-557 (PDF file)

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