An Acellular, Allograft-Derived Meniscus Scaffold in an Ovine Model

Kathryne J. Stabile, Devin Odom, Thomas L. Smith, Casey Northam, Patrick W. Whitlock, Beth P. Smith, Mark E. Van Dyke, Cristin M. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop a meniscus scaffold that has increased porosity and maintains the native meniscus extracellular matrix in an ovine model. Methods: The medial menisci of skeletally mature ovine (n = 16) were harvested; half were made into meniscus scaffolds (n = 8), and half remained intact (n = 8). Intact and scaffold meniscus tissues were compared by use of histology, DNA content analysis, in vitro cellular biocompatibility assays, and ultrastructural analysis. An additional 16 knees were used to investigate the biomechanics of the intact meniscus compared with the meniscus scaffold. Results: DNA content and histology showed a significant decrease in cellular and nuclear content in the meniscus scaffold (P < .003). Biocompatibility was supported through in vitro cellular assays. Scanning electron microscopy and micro-computed tomography showed a substantial increase in porosity and pore connectivity in the meniscus scaffold compared with the intact meniscus (P < .01). There was no statistical difference between the ultimate load or elastic modulus of the intact and meniscus scaffolds. Conclusions: In this study a meniscus scaffold was evaluated for potential clinical application as a meniscus transplant construct in an ovine model. The data showed that a decellularized meniscus scaffold with increased porosity was comparable to the intact meniscus, with an absence of in vitro cellular toxicity. Although some compositional alterations of the extracellular matrix are to be expected during processing, it is evident that many of the essential structural components remained functional with maintenance of biomechanical properties. Clinical Relevance: This meniscus scaffold has potential for future clinical application as a meniscus transplant construct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-948
Number of pages13
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


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