Cartilage has a poor reparative capacity although it is unclear as to what extent this may be dependent on age or maturation. In the current study, the cellular responses of chondrocytes to experimental wounding in vitro using embryonic, immature, and mature cartilage have been compared. In all cases, the response was consistent (a combination of cell death that included apoptosis and proliferation). The speed of response varied in terms of cell death with embryonic cartilage showing the most rapid response and mature cartilage showing the slowest response. Intrinsic repair as assessed by the ability to heal the lesion was not detected in any of the culture systems used. It was concluded that the poor repair potential of cartilage is not maturation dependent in the systems studied.

Full-text article