Conventional clinical therapies are unable to resolve osteochondral defects adequately; hence, tissue engineering solutions are sought to address the challenge. A biphasic implant that was seeded with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and coupled with an electrospun membrane was evaluated as an alternative. This dual phase construct comprised of a polycaprolactone (PCL) cartilage scaffold and a PCL-tricalcium phosphate osseous matrix. Autologous MSCs were seeded into the entire implant via fibrin and the construct was inserted into critically sized osteochondral defects located at the medial condyle and patellar groove of pigs. The defect was resurfaced with a PCL-collagen electrospun mesh, which served as a substitute for periosteal flap in preventing cell leakage. Controls without either implanted MSCs or resurfacing membrane were included. After 6 months, cartilaginous repair was observed with a low occurrence of fibrocartilage at the medial condyle. Osteochondral repair was promoted and host cartilage degeneration was arrested as shown by superior glycosaminoglycan maintenance. This positive morphological outcome was supported by a higher relative Young's modulus, which indicated functional cartilage restoration. Bone ingrowth and remodeling occurred in all groups, with a higher degree of mineralization in the experimental group. Tissue repair was compromised in the absence of the implanted cells or the resurfacing membrane. Moreover, healing was inferior at the patellar groove when compared with the medial condyle and this was attributed to the native biomechanical features.
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