Tendon and ligament as novel cell sources for engineering the knee meniscus

P. Hadidi, N. K. Paschos, B. J. Huang, A. Aryaei, J. C. Hu, K. A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective The application of cell-based therapies in regenerative medicine is hindered by the difficulty of acquiring adequate numbers of competent cells. For the knee meniscus in particular, this may be solved by harvesting tissue from neighboring tendons and ligaments. In this study, we have investigated the potential of cells from tendon and ligament, as compared to meniscus cells, to engineer scaffold-free self-assembling fibrocartilage. Method Self-assembling meniscus-shaped constructs engineered from a co-culture of articular chondrocytes and either meniscus, tendon, or ligament cells were cultured for 4 weeks with TGF-β1 in serum-free media. After culture, constructs were assessed for their mechanical properties, histological staining, gross appearance, and biochemical composition including cross-link content. Correlations were performed to evaluate relationships between biochemical content and mechanical properties. Results In terms of mechanical properties as well as biochemical content, constructs engineered using tenocytes and ligament fibrocytes were found to be equivalent or superior to constructs engineered using meniscus cells. Furthermore, cross-link content was found to be correlated with engineered tissue tensile properties. Conclusion Tenocytes and ligament fibrocytes represent viable cell sources for engineering meniscus fibrocartilage using the self-assembling process. Due to greater cross-link content, fibrocartilage engineered with tenocytes and ligament fibrocytes may maintain greater tensile properties than fibrocartilage engineered with meniscus cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2126-2134
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Knee surgery
  • Meniscus fibrocartilage
  • Primary cell sources
  • Self-assembling process
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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