Magnetically Targeted Stem Cell Delivery for Regenerative Medicine
BACKGROUND Cell therapies are hampered by the difficulty of delivering cells to and retaining them in target tissues long enough to repair or regenerate local tissues. HYPOTHESIS Magnetic-assisted delivery of magnetically labeled mesenchymal stem cells (m-MSCs) would be rapid, allowing for chondrogenic differentiation and functional joint repair without replacement. STUDY DESIGN Controlled laboratory study. METHODS Sixteen mini-pigs aged 6 to 7 months were used. A full-thickness cartilage defect was created in the center of the patella with a cylindrical punch (diameter, 6 mm). At 4 weeks after creation of the cartilage defects, the animals were divided into 3 treatment groups: In the M group, m-MSCs (5 × 10(6) cells) were injected and accumulated to the cartilage defect using an external magnetic force (1.5 T) for 10 minutes; in the G group, the patella was faced upward, filled with MSCs (5 × 10(6) cells), and held for 10 minutes; and in the C group, only phosphate-buffered saline was injected. The regenerated cartilage was evaluated in 5 knees in each of the 3 groups by arthroscopic surgery at 6 and 12 weeks and histological and ultrasound evaluation at 12 and 24 weeks. RESULTS The mean arthroscopic scores at 6 weeks were 10.4 ± 1.10 in the M group, 8.8 ± 0.84 in the G group, and 7.4 ± 0.89 in the C group. There was a statistically significant difference between the M group and the other 2 groups. The mean arthroscopic scores at 12 weeks were 12.8 ± 1.30 (M group), 10.5 ± 1.30 (G group), and 9.5 ± 0.58 (C group), with a statistically significant difference between the M and C groups. The mean histological scores using the Wakitani scoring system at 12 weeks were 2.8 ± 0.96 (M group), 5.4 ± 0.55 (G group), and 6.0 ± 2.20 (C group), and the mean histological scores at 24 weeks were 2.4 ± 1.50 (M group), 3.5 ± 0.56 (G group), and 5.3 ± 1.50 (C group). The mean histological scores at 12 weeks were significantly better in the M group than in the other groups, and the M group maintained a significantly better histological score than did the C group at 24 weeks. CONCLUSION The m-MSCs had no adverse effect on chondrogenic differentiation, and m-MSCs delivered by magnetic field application repaired cartilage defects. CLINICAL RELEVANCE The clinical application of this novel stem cell delivery system is a potential therapeutic option for treating cartilage defects and may be more applicable throughout the body than traditional methods.