Cartilage and bone tissue engineering for reconstructive head and neck surgery
The clinical relevance of antibodies against components of cartilage in the reconstructive surgery has not yet been clarified. In our study four groups of patients with successful and unsuccessful autologous cartilage transplantation in rhinosurgery, patients with ear perichondritis and patients with tracheal stenosis after long-term intubation were investigated for the presence of a humoral immune reactivity to cartilage. The control groups consisted of healthy persons and patients with RA. The antibodies against cartilage matrix and chondrocytes were determined using indirect immunofluorescence methods. Patients with unsuccessful cartilage transplantation showed increased antibodies against autologous cartilage (until 1:100) compared to the patients with successful cartilage transplantation. Furthermore, patients suffering from ear perichondritis and tracheal stenosis showed also increased antibodies against cartilage. These data suggest that a humoral immune reactivity against autologous cartilage--independent of an infection--can be one cause for the destruction of cartilaginous tissue.