Cell-Based Meniscus Repair and Regeneration: At the Brink of Clinical Translation?: A Systematic Review of Preclinical Studies

Jasmijn V Korpershoek, Tommy S de Windt, Michella H Hagmeijer, Lucienne A Vonk, Daniel B F Saris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Meniscus damage can be caused by trauma or degeneration and is therefore common among patients of all ages. Repair or regeneration of the menisci could be of great importance not only for pain relief or regaining function but also to prevent degenerative disease and osteoarthritis. Current treatment does not offer consistent long-term improvement. Although preclinical research focusing on augmentation of meniscal tear repair and regeneration after meniscectomy is encouraging, clinical translation remains difficult.

PURPOSE: To systematically evaluate the literature on in vivo meniscus regeneration and explore the optimal cell sources and conditions for clinical translation. We aimed at thorough evaluation of current evidence as well as clarifying the challenges for future preclinical and clinical studies.

STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review.

METHODS: A search was conducted using the electronic databases of MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Collaboration. Search terms included meniscus, regeneration, and cell-based.

RESULTS: After screening 81 articles based on title and abstract, 51 articles on in vivo meniscus regeneration could be included; 2 additional articles were identified from the references. Repair and regeneration of the meniscus has been described by intra-articular injection of multipotent mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells from adipose tissue, bone marrow, synovium, or meniscus or the use of these cell types in combination with implantable or injectable scaffolds. The use of fibrochondrocytes, chondrocytes, and transfected myoblasts for meniscus repair and regeneration is limited to the combination with different scaffolds. The comparative in vitro and in vivo studies mentioned in this review indicate that the use of allogeneic cells is as successful as the use of autologous cells. In addition, the implantation or injection of cell-seeded scaffolds increased tissue regeneration and led to better structural organization compared with scaffold implantation or injection of a scaffold alone. None of the studies mentioned in this review compare the effectiveness of different (cell-seeded) scaffolds.

CONCLUSION: There is heterogeneity in animal models, cell types, and scaffolds used, and limited comparative studies are available. The comparative in vivo research that is currently available is insufficient to draw strong conclusions as to which cell type is the most promising. However, there is a vast amount of in vivo research on the use of different types of multipotent mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells in different experimental settings, and good results are reported in terms of tissue formation. None of these studies compare the effectiveness of different cell-scaffold combinations, making it hard to conclude which scaffold has the greatest potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2325967117690131
JournalThe Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Knee
  • Meniscus
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Tissue scaffolds
  • knee
  • meniscus
  • regenerative medicine
  • stem cell therapy
  • tissue scaffolds


Dive into the research topics of 'Cell-Based Meniscus Repair and Regeneration: At the Brink of Clinical Translation?: A Systematic Review of Preclinical Studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this