Knee Surg Relat Res  
Mesenchymal Stem Cells Isolated from the Anterior Cruciate Ligament: Characterization and Comparison of Cells from Young and Old Donors
Patrick Prager, MD1, Manuela Kunz1, Regina Ebert, PhD1, Ludger Klein-Hitpass, PhD2, Jakob Sieker, MD3, Thomas Barthel, MD1, Franz Jakob, MD1, Christian Konrads, MD1,4,*, and Andre Steinert, MD1,5,*
1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Koenig-Ludwig-Haus, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg; 2BioChip Laboratory, Center for Medical Biotechnology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany; 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 4Department of Orthopaedic Trauma, Center for Trauma Research, BG Trauma Center Tuebingen, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen; 5Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Agatharied Hospital, Teaching Hospital of the University of Munich, Hausham, Germany
Correspondence to: Christian Konrads, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Koenig-Ludwig-Haus, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany
Tel: +49-931-803-3136, Fax: +49-931-903-1209
Received: August 29, 2017; Revised: November 26, 2017; Accepted: December 16, 2017; Published online: March 19, 2018.
© Korean Knee Society. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Purpose: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) share multiple characteristics of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs), allowing their use for regenerative therapies. Injuries to the ACL can affect people of all ages. This study assesses whether the regenerative potential of ACL-derived MSCs (ACL-MSCs) from old donors is as high as the potential of ACL-MSCs from young donors.
Materials and Methods: ACL-MSCs were isolated from ACL tissues obtained from young and old donors at the time of ACL reconstruction or arthroplasty. Proliferative capacity, multilineage differentiation potential (chondrogenic, osteogenic, and adipogenic lineages), and transcriptome-wide gene expression were assessed and compared between young and old donors. BMSCs of middle-aged donors served as an additional comparator.
Results: No substantial differences between ACL-MSCs from young and old donors were observed in their proliferative capacity and multilineage differentiation potential. The latter did not substantially differ between both ACL-MSC groups and BMSCs. Differential expression of genes related to the cytoskeleton and to protein dephosphorylation amongst other pathways was detected between ACL-MSCs from young and old donors.
Conclusions: Regenerative potential of ACL-MSCs from old donors was not substantially lower than that from young donors, suggesting that regenerative therapies of ACL tears are feasible in both age groups. In vivo studies of the effect of age on the efficacy of such therapies are needed.
Keywords: Knee, Anterior cruciate ligament, Stem cell, Differentiation, Donor age


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