Paul Heini

Sonnenhof Hospital · Orthopaedics

Publications

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    Paul F Heini
    European Spine Journal 06/2013; · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This Grand Rounds is about the clinical and radiological presentation, treatment and outcome of pediatric cervical spine injury. A 15-month-old girl suffers from a motor vehicle accident and is intubated on-site because of progressive agitation. Whole body trauma CT was read as normal. When sedation was discontinued after 24 h she was found to be tetraplegic below C6 level. MRI shows a total disruption between C6 and C7 that in hindsight was also visible on the initial trauma CT. She was treated surgically by an anterior and posterior reconstruction and was post-operatively treated with a halo vest. Clearing the cervical spine in young children is deceptively difficult. Meticulous review and interpretation of conventional radiographs and CT are important yet MRI should be considered in uncertain cases. Severe ligamentous injury without concomitant bony injury occurs more frequently than in older children and adults, with sometimes devastating consequences.
    European Spine Journal 06/2012; 21(11):2205-11. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies have described 'open' approach techniques for cementation of sheep and goat vertebrae; however, no percutaneous technique has been developed so far for use in non-primates. The aim of this study was to develop an animal model for percutaneous vertebroplasty under clinical conditions. In a pilot study with dissected cadaveric ovine vertebrae, the technique and instruments as well as the optimal needle position were determined. In an in vivo animal study using 33 lumbar vertebrae of 11 sheep, a percutaneous vertebroplasty was performed under general anaesthesia. Needle position and cement volume were evaluated from high resolution, quantitative computed tomography imaging. The percutaneous technique for vertebroplasty was applicable to the vertebral bodies (L1 to L5) of the ovine lumbar spine without any related adverse effects for the animals. The procedure showed a steep learning curve represented by the reduction of the distance between the actual and planned needle positioning (7.2 mm to 3.7 mm; median value) and shorter surgery times (21.3 min to 15.0 min, average) with progression of the study. The described technique is feasible and repeatable under clinical conditions. This is the first percutaneous vertebroplasty technique for non-primates and we conclude that the sheep is a valid animal model to investigate the effects of cement augmentation in vivo.
    Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology 03/2012; 25(3):173-7. · 1.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Data concerning the safety of sacroplasty in terms of cement leakage is scarce. Frequency, distribution patterns and clinical consequences of cement leakage were assessed in 33 patients (28 female, mean age: 74 +/- 10 yrs; bilateral SIF: n = 30, 63 sacroplasties) treated with sacroplasty between 06/2003 and 11/2010 in a retrospective study using patients' records, operative notes and postoperative radiographs. Cement leakage was noted within the fracture gap (27%), into veins (6%), neuroforamina (3%) or in the intervertebral disc space L5/S1 (2%). In one patient, cement leakage into the fracture gap led to unilateral radiculopathy of the 5th lumbar nerve root. Leakage into the fracture gap is at high risk of affecting the 5th lumbar nerve root due to the special course of its ventral branch over the sacral promontory. The risks of cement leakage with neurological impairment should be explained to patients.
    Acta orthopaedica Belgica 02/2012; 78(1):100-5. · 0.63 Impact Factor
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    Paul F Heini, Regula Teuscher
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoporotic vertebral fractures are frequent. Although the majority of fractures follow a benign course, there are certain fracture types which result in severe spinal deformity and / or are associated with neurological complications. These patients should be detected early and undergo surgical treatment. Vertebroplasty remains an important and effective treatment option for acute painful vertebral fractures showing progressive collapse. By this procedure the fracture can be stabilised, the pain is controlled and the progression of height loss is also halted. If a vertebral body shows a higher degree of collapse and kyphotic deformity or even some posterior wall involvement, the stentoplasty procedure (further evolution of kyphoplasty) allows height resotartion by the stent and the stabilisation of the vertebral body by cement.
    Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift 01/2012; 142:w13658. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare the magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings in patients with acute whiplash injury with those in matched control subjects. In a prospective multicenter controlled study, from 2005 to 2008, 100 consecutive patients underwent 1.5-T MR imaging examinations of the cervical spine within 48 hours after a motor vehicle accident. Findings in these patients were compared in a blinded fashion with those in 100 age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects. Four blinded independent readers assessed the presence of occult vertebral body and facet fractures, vertebral body and facet contusions, intervertebral disk herniations, ligamentum nuchae strains, ligamentum nuchae tears, muscle strains or tears, and perimuscular fluid. Accuracy (as compared with clinical findings) and interobserver reliability were calculated. Accuracy of MR imaging and interreader reliability were generally poor (sensitivity, 0.328; specificity, 0.728; positive and negative likelihood ratios, 1.283 and 1.084, respectively). MR imaging findings significantly associated with whiplash injuries were occult fracture (P<.01), bone marrow contusion of the vertebral body (P=.01), muscle strain (P<.01) or tear (P<.01), and the presence of perimuscular fluid (P<.01). While 10 findings thought to be specific for whiplash trauma were significantly (P<.01) more frequent in patients (507 observations), they were also regularly found in healthy control subjects (237 observations). There were no serious occult injuries that required immediate therapy. MR imaging at 1.5 T reveals only limited evidence of specific changes to the cervical spine and the surrounding tissues in patients with acute symptomatic whiplash injury compared with healthy control subjects.
    Radiology 12/2011; 262(2):567-75. · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: STUDY DESIGN:: Technical note and case series. OBJECTIVE:: To introduce an innovative minimal-invasive surgical procedure reducing surgery time and blood loss in management of U-shaped sacrum fractures. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND:: Despite their seldom appearance, U-shaped fractures can cause severe neurological deficits and surgical management difficulties. According to the nature of the injury normally occurring in multi-injured patients after a fall from height, a jump, or road traffic accident, U-shaped fractures create a spinopelvic dissociation and hence are highly unstable. In the past, time-consuming open procedures like large posterior constructs or shortening osteotomies with or without decompression were the method of choice, sacrificing spinal mobility. Insufficient restoration of sacrococcygeal angle and pelvic incidence with conventional techniques may have adverse long-term effects in these patients. METHODS:: In a consecutive series of 3 patients, percutaneous reduction of the fracture with Schanz pins inserted in either the pedicles of L5 or the S1 body and the posterior superior iliac crest was achieved. The Schanz pins act as lever, allowing a good manipulation of the fracture. The reduction is secured by a temporary external fixator to permit optimal restoration of pelvic incidence and sacral kyphosis. Insertion of 2 transsacral screws allow fixation of the restored spinopelvic alignment. RESULTS:: Anatomic alignment of the sacrum was possible in each case. Surgery time ranged from 90 to 155 minutes and the blood loss was <50 mL in all 3 cases. Two patients had very good results in the long term regarding maintenance of pelvic incidence and sacrococcygeal angle. One patient with previous cauda equina decompression had loss of correction after 6 months. CONCLUSIONS:: Percutaneous reduction and transsacral screw fixation offers a less invasive method for treating U-shaped fractures. This can be advantageous in treatment of patients with multiple injuries.
    Journal of spinal disorders & techniques 09/2011; · 1.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Retrospective case review. In the present study, the neurological outcome, retirement and prognostic factors of patients with spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality (SCIWORA) were evaluated. Swiss national work accident insurance database. The medical histories of 32 patients who were insured by the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) and had SCIWORA between 1995 and 2004 were evaluated thoroughly. Moreover, all available magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were evaluated. At the last follow-up, none of the patients had complete spinal cord injury, only 4 patients had severe deficits and 12 patients had normal motor and sensory function in the neurological examination. However, only 7 out of 32 patients had returned to full-time work and 10 out of 32 patients were fully retired. Both the presence of spinal cord change (ρ=0.51) and higher maximum spinal cord compression (ρ=0.57) in MRI scan correlated with the likelihood for retirement; older age (ρ=0.38) and physical load of work (ρ=0.4) correlated with retirement to a lesser extent. Although the neurological outcome of SCIWORA is mostly good, the retirement rate is high. Presence of spinal cord change and severity of cord compression are the best predictors for the degree of retirement.
    Spinal Cord 09/2011; 50(1):78-80. · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    Paul F Heini
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    ABSTRACT: Case presentation of a cervical spine fracture treated by kyphoplasty. The review of the case, especially the careful re-assessment of the x-rays reveals that the treatment goals have not been achieved (motion preservation, functional restoration of the vertebral body). The case report is an excellent example of our biased viewpoint in assessing our efforts.
    European Spine Journal 09/2011; 20(10):1593-5. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vertebroplasty (VP) is a cost-efficient alternative to kyphoplasty; however, regarding safety and vertebral body (VB) height restoration, it is considered inferior. We assessed the safety and efficacy of VP in alleviating pain, improving quality of life (QoL) and restoring alignment. In a prospective monocenter case series from May 2007 until July 2008, there were 1,408 vertebroplasties performed during 319 interventions in 306 patients with traumatic, lytic and osteoporotic fractures. The 249 interventions in 233 patients performed because of osteoporotic vertebral fractures were analyzed regarding demographics, treatment and radiographic details, pain alleviation (VAS), QoL improvement (NASS and EQ-5D), complications and predictors for new fractures requiring a reoperation. The osteoporotic patient sample consisted of 76.7% (179) females with a median age of 80 years. A total of 54 males had a median age of 77 years. On average, there were 1.8 VBs fractured and 5 VBs treated. The preoperative pain was assessed by the visual analog scale (VAS) and decreased from 54.9 to 40.4 pts after 2 months and 31.2 pts after 6 months. Accordingly, the QoL on the EQ-5D measure (-0.6 to 1) improved from 0.35 pts before surgery to 0.56 pts after 2 and to 0.68 pts after 6 months. The preoperative Beck Index (anterior height/posterior height) improved from a mean of 0.64 preoperative to 0.76 postoperative, remained stable at 2 months and slightly deteriorated to 0.72 at 6 months postoperatively. There were cement leakages in 26% of the fractured VBs and in 1.4% of the prophylactically cemented VBs; there were symptoms in 4.3%, and most of them were temporary hypotension and one pulmonary cement embolism that remained asymptomatic. The univariate regression model revealed a tendency for a reduced risk for new or refractures on radiographs (OR = 2.61, 95% CI 0.92-7.38, p = 0.12) and reoperations (OR = 2.9, 95% CI 0.94-8.949, p = 0.1) when prophylactic augmentation was performed. The final multivariate regression model revealed male patients to have an about three times higher refracture risk (radiographic) (OR = 2.78, p = 0.02) at 6 months after surgery. Patients with a lumbar index fracture had an about three to five times higher refracture/reoperation risk than patients with a thoracic (OR = 0.33/0.35, p = 0.009/0.01) or thoracolumbar (OR = 0.32/0.22, p = 0.099/0.01) index fracture. If routinely used, VP is a safe and efficacious treatment option for osteoporotic vertebral fractures with regard to pain relief and improvement of the QoL. Even segmental realignment can be partially achieved with proper patient positioning. Certain patient or fracture characteristics increase the risk for early radiographic refractures or new fractures, or a reoperation; a consequent prophylactic augmentation showed protective tendencies, but the study was underpowered for a final conclusion.
    European Spine Journal 08/2011; 21 Suppl 6:S792-9. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To quantitatively compare the muscle cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of the cervical muscles in symptomatic acute whiplash patients versus healthy controls. We hypothesized, that symptomatic whiplash patients have smaller cervical muscle CSAs than matched controls and that smaller cervical muscle CSAs in women might explain that women more frequently are symptomatic after whiplash injury than men. Prospective controlled study. Thirty-eight consecutive acute whiplash patients were examined within 48 h after a motor vehicle accident and 38 healthy age- and sex-matched controls, each half female, half male, were examined with the same protocol. MRI CSA measurements were performed of the deep and total cervical extensor muscles as well as the sternocleidomastoid muscles using transversal STIR (Short T1 Inversion Recovery) sequences on level C2, C4, and C5 by two blinded raters. Clinical symptoms were assessed with patient questionnaires (EuroQuol 5D, Specific Whiplash Questionnaire, head- and neck pain intensity [VAS]). Agreement of measurements between the two raters was high (intraclass correlation 0.52 to 0.85 for the different levels). No significant difference in age and body mass index were seen between patients and controls and the distribution of genders across groups was identical. There were no significant differences between patients and controls for all CSAs. Women had consistently smaller CSAs than men. The CSAs showed no significant correlation with the pain intensity of neck pain and headache but a consistent tendency of less neck pain and more headache with greater CSAs. This small study provides no evidence that subjects with smaller CSAs of cervical extensor muscles have a higher risk in developing symptoms after a whiplash injury and confirms smaller CSA in women.
    Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 03/2011; 33(3):668-75. · 2.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinically, the displacement of intravertebral fat into the circulation during vertebroplasty is reported to lead to problems in elderly patients and can represent a serious complication, especially when multiple levels have to be treated. An in vitro study has shown the feasibility of removing intravertebral fat by pulsed jet-lavage prior to vertebroplasty, potentially reducing the embolization of bone marrow fat from the vertebral bodies and alleviating the cardiovascular changes elicited by pulmonary fat embolism. In this in vivo study, percutaneous vertebroplasty using polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) was performed in three lumbar vertebrae of 11 sheep. In six sheep (lavage group), pulsed jet-lavage was performed prior to injection of PMMA compared to the control group of five sheep receiving only PMMA vertebroplasty. Invasive recording of blood pressures was performed continuously until 60 min after the last injection. Cardiac output and arterial blood gas parameters were measured at selected time points. Post mortem, the injected cement volume was measured using CT and lung biopsies were processed for assessment of intravascular fat. Pulsed jet-lavage was feasible in the in vivo setting. In the control group, the injection of PMMA resulted in pulmonary fat embolism and a sudden and significant increase in mean pulmonary arterial pressure. Pulsed jet-lavage prevented any cardiovascular changes and significantly reduced the severity of bone marrow fat embolization. Even though significantly more cement had been injected into the lavaged vertebral bodies, significantly fewer intravascular fat emboli were identified in the lung tissue. Pulsed jet-lavage prevented the cardiovascular complications after PMMA vertebroplasty in sheep and alleviated the severity of pulmonary fat embolism.
    European Spine Journal 11/2010; 19(11):1913-20. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have investigated the use of hierarchical clustering of flow cytometry data to classify samples of conventional central chondrosarcoma, a malignant cartilage forming tumor of uncertain cellular origin, according to similarities with surface marker profiles of several known cell types. Human primary chondrosarcoma cells, articular chondrocytes, mesenchymal stem cells, fibroblasts, and a panel of tumor cell lines from chondrocytic or epithelial origin were clustered based on the expression profile of eleven surface markers. For clustering, eight hierarchical clustering algorithms, three distance metrics, as well as several approaches for data preprocessing, including multivariate outlier detection, logarithmic transformation, and z-score normalization, were systematically evaluated. By selecting clustering approaches shown to give reproducible results for cluster recovery of known cell types, primary conventional central chondrosacoma cells could be grouped in two main clusters with distinctive marker expression signatures: one group clustering together with mesenchymal stem cells (CD49b-high/CD10-low/CD221-high) and a second group clustering close to fibroblasts (CD49b-low/CD10-high/CD221-low). Hierarchical clustering also revealed substantial differences between primary conventional central chondrosarcoma cells and established chondrosarcoma cell lines, with the latter not only segregating apart from primary tumor cells and normal tissue cells, but clustering together with cell lines from epithelial lineage. Our study provides a foundation for the use of hierarchical clustering applied to flow cytometry data as a powerful tool to classify samples according to marker expression patterns, which could lead to uncover new cancer subtypes.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 11/2010; 225(2):601-11. · 4.22 Impact Factor
  • P F Heini
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    ABSTRACT: Percutaneous cement augmentation (kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty) has become established as a procedure for treatment of painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures and certain neoplastic changes. The injection of cement ensures rapid stabilization of the vertebra and prevents further sintering. This also results in pain improvement. Nonetheless, based on two placebo-controlled trials, this treatment approach has been called into question. However, these studies did not take the technical aspects of the treatment into consideration, and it appears probable that the amount of filler material chosen was too small so that the treatment group also received placebo. Furthermore, it is likely that mostly older fractures were treated so that the effect can no longer be expected to be as pronounced. A randomized, controlled trial comparing kyphoplasty to conservative management provided good evidence that cement augmentation is of benefit within the first year. Newer procedures for kyphoplasty are very promising, but their clinical significance still needs verification.
    Der Orthopäde 07/2010; 39(7):658-64. · 0.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this exploratory study we evaluated sensitivity and target specificity of sinuvertebral nerve block (SVNB) for the diagnosis of lumbar diskogenic pain. Diskography has been the diagnostic gold standard. Fifteen patients with positive diskography underwent SVNB via interlaminar approach to the posterior aspect of the disk. Success was defined as > or = 80% pain reduction or excellent relief of physical restrictions after the block. The sensitivity was 73.3% (95% CI: 50.9%-95.7%). The target specificity was 40% (15.2%-64.8%). The results indicate that SVNB cannot yet replace diskography but encourage future studies to improve its target specificity.
    Anesthesia and analgesia 07/2010; 111(1):204-6. · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The primary aim of the present study was to investigate whether there is a relationship between central hypersensitivity (assessed by pressure pain thresholds of uninjured tissues) and intradiscal pain threshold during discography. The secondary aim was to test the hypothesis that peripheral noxious stimulation dynamically modulates central hypersensitivity. Twenty-four patients with positive provocation discography were tested for central hypersensitivity by pressure algometry before and after the intervention with assessments of pressure pain detection and tolerance thresholds. Intradiscal pain threshold was assessed by measuring intradiscal pressure at the moment of pain provocation during discography. Correlation analyses between intradiscal pain threshold and pressure algometry were made. For the secondary aim, pressure algometry data before and after discography were compared. Significant correlation with intradiscal pain threshold was found for pressure pain detection threshold at the toe (regression coefficient: 0.03, P = 0.05) and pressure pain tolerance thresholds at the nonpainful point at the back (0.02, P = 0.024). Tolerance threshold at the toe was a significant predictor for intradiscal pain threshold only in multiple linear regression (0.036, P = 0.027). Detection as well as tolerance thresholds significantly decreased after discography at the painful and the nonpainful point at the back, but not at the toe. Central hypersensitivity may influence intradiscal pain threshold, but with a modest quantitative impact. The diagnostic value of provocation discography is therefore not substantially impaired. Regional, but not generalized central hypersensitivity is dynamically modulated by ongoing peripheral nociceptive input.
    Pain Medicine 05/2010; 11(5):701-8. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are well-established minimally invasive treatment options for compression fractures of osteoporotic vertebral bodies. Possible procedural disadvantages, however, include incomplete fracture reduction or a significant loss of reduction after balloon tamp deflation, prior to cement injection. A new procedure called "vertebral body stenting" (VBS) was tested in vitro and compared to kyphoplasty. VBS uses a specially designed catheter-mounted stent which can be implanted and expanded inside the vertebral body. As much as 24 fresh frozen human cadaveric vertebral bodies (T11-L5) were utilized. After creating typical compression fractures, the vertebral bodies were reduced by kyphoplasty (n = 12) or by VBS (n = 12) and then stabilized with PMMA bone cement. Each step of the procedure was performed under fluoroscopic control and analysed quantitatively. Finally, static and dynamic biomechanical tests were performed. A complete initial reduction of the fractured vertebral body height was achieved by both systems. There was a significant loss of reduction after balloon deflation in kyphoplasty compared to VBS, and a significant total height gain by VBS (mean +/- SD in %, p < 0.05, demonstrated by: anterior height loss after deflation in relation to preoperative height [kyphoplasty: 11.7 +/- 6.2; VBS: 3.7 +/- 3.8], and total anterior height gain [kyphoplasty: 8.0 +/- 9.4; VBS: 13.3 +/- 7.6]). Biomechanical tests showed no significant stiffness and failure load differences between systems. VBS is an innovative technique which allows for the possibly complete reduction of vertebral compression fractures and helps maintain the restored height by means of a stent. The height loss after balloon deflation is significantly decreased by using VBS compared to kyphoplasty, thus offering a new promising option for vertebral augmentation.
    European Spine Journal 03/2010; 19(6):916-23. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: STUDY DESIGN.: Cadaver study. OBJECTIVE.: To determine bone strength in vertebrae by measuring peak breakaway torque or indentation force using custom-made pedicle probes. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Screw performance in dorsal spinal instrumentation is dependent on bone quality of the vertebral body. To date no intraoperative measuring device to validate bone strength is available. Destructive testing may predict bone strength in transpedicular instrumentations in osteoporotic vertebrae. Insertional torque measurements showed varying results. METHODS.: Ten human cadaveric vertebrae were evaluated for bone mineral density (BMD) measurements by quantitative computed tomography. Peak torque and indentation force of custom-made probes as a measure for mechanical bone strength were assessed via a transpedicular approach. The results were correlated to regional BMD and to biomechanical load testing after pedicle screw implementation. RESULTS.: Both methods generated a positive correlation to failure load of the respective vertebrae. The correlation of peak breakaway torque to failure load was r = 0.959 (P = 0.003), therewith distinctly higher than the correlation of indentation force to failure load, which was r = 0.690 (P = 0.040). In predicting regional BMD, measurement of peak torque also performed better than that of indentation force (r = 0.897 [P = 0.002] vs. r = 0.777 [P = 0.017]). CONCLUSION.: Transpedicular measurement of peak breakaway torque is technically feasible and predicts reliable local bone strength and implant failure for dorsal spinal instrumentations in this experimental setting.
    Spine 02/2010; · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell therapies for articular cartilage defects rely on expanded chondrocytes. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) represent an alternative cell source should their hypertrophic differentiation pathway be prevented. Possible cellular instruction between human articular chondrocytes (HAC) and human bone marrow MSC was investigated in micromass pellets. HAC and MSC were mixed in different percentages or incubated individually in pellets for 3 or 6 weeks with and without TGF-beta1 and dexamethasone (±T±D) as chondrogenic factors. Collagen II, collagen X and S100 protein expression were assessed using immunohistochemistry. Proteoglycan synthesis was evaluated applying the Bern score and quantified using dimethylmethylene blue dye binding assay. Alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP) was detected on cryosections and soluble ALP measured in pellet supernatants. HAC alone generated hyaline-like discs, while MSC formed spheroid pellets in ±T±D. Co-cultured pellets changed from disc to spheroid shape with decreasing number of HAC, and displayed random cell distribution. In -T-D, HAC expressed S100, produced GAG and collagen II, and formed lacunae, while MSC did not produce any cartilage-specific proteins. Based on GAG, collagen type II and S100 expression chondrogenic differentiation occurred in -T-D MSC co-cultures. However, quantitative experimental GAG and DNA values did not differ from predicted values, suggesting only HAC contribution to GAG production. MSC produced cartilage-specific matrix only in +T+D but underwent hypertrophy in all pellet cultures. In summary, influence of HAC on MSC was restricted to early signs of neochondrogenesis. However, MSC did not contribute to the proteoglycan deposition, and HAC could not prevent hypertrophy of MSC induced by chondrogenic stimuli.
    European cells & materials 01/2010; 20:245-59. · 4.56 Impact Factor

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