Date Submitted


Faculty Advisor

Lisa Stehno-Bittel, Ph.D.

Second Faculty Advisor

Douglas C. Bittel, Ph.D.

Third Faculty Advisor

Kevin D. Treffer, D.O., FACOFP


Multipotent Stromal Cells (MSC) are utilized as therapeutic agents for addressing tissue regeneration for musculoskeletal conditions, including knee osteoarthritis (OA). Currently, cell therapies lack FDA-approval for injections to alleviate complications of knee OA. Additionally, orthopedic clinicians lack standardized, Good Manufacturing Practice-compliant protocols for administering MSCs therapies. Consequently, major challenges in clinical applications involve poor MSC viability after isolation, extreme shear stress of the injections, maintenance of the cells in the joint capsule, and the harsh inflammatory environment of knee OA. As hyaluronic acid (HA) is an innate polymer of synovial joints that maintains cartilage viscoelastic integrity, HA-based cell delivery systems are of interest. Commercially available joint lubricants utilize uncrosslinked HA gels. While MSCs could be delivered in these uncrosslinked gels, it is hypothesized that they will not trap the cells in the knee joint long enough to have an effect. Alternatively, crosslinked HA hydrogels confer immunoprotection and biocompatibility and would maintain cells in the joint for a longer period. Unfortunately, a fully crosslinked HA is a solid and cannot be injected through a needle. The aims of this study are: 1) to evaluate the ability of the commercially available HA paste (MonoVisc) in maintaining MSC viability, and 2) to determine the ability of MSCs, entrapped in this HA paste, to reverse knee joint degeneration in an OA rat model.