Immunogenicity of bovine and leporine articular chondrocytes and meniscus cells

Daniel J. Huey, Johannah Sanchez-Adams, Vincent P. Willard, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Immune rejection is a major concern for any allogeneic or xenogeneic graft. For in vivo investigations of cartilage tissue engineering strategies, small animal models such as the leporine model are commonly employed. Many studies report little to no immune rejection upon allogeneic or xenogeneic implantation of native articular and meniscal cartilages. This study investigated whether bovine and leporine articular chondrocytes (ACs) and meniscus cells (MCs) have immunoprivileged characteristics because of their ability to stimulate proliferation of leporine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in vitro. After 6 days of co-culture, none of the cell types caused a proliferative response in the leporine PBMCs, indicating that these cells may not elicit immune rejection in vivo. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis for major histocompatibility complex class (MHC) I and II and costimulation factors CD80 and CD86 revealed that all cell types produced messenger RNA for MHC I and II, but only some were CD80 or CD86 positive, and none were positive for both costimulation factors. Flow cytometry found that bovine MCs and ACs displayed MHC II (MCs: 32.5%, ACs: 14.4%), whereas only leporine ACs were MHC II positive (7.5%). Although present in isolated cells, MHC I and II were not observed in intact bovine or leporine hyaline cartilage or meniscus tissues. Despite some presence of MHC II and costimulation factors, none of the cell types studied were able to cause PBMC proliferation. These findings indicate that bovine and leporine MCs and ACs share a similar immunoprivileged profile, bolstering their use as allogeneic and xenogeneic cell sources for engineered cartilage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-575
Number of pages8
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Medicine(all)


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