Objective Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a fraction of plasma that contains high levels of multiple growth factors. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of PRP on cell proliferation and matrix synthesis by porcine chondrocytes cultured in alginate beads, conditions that promote the retention of the chondrocytic phenotype, in order to determine the plausibility of using this plasma-derived material for engineering cartilage.
Design PRP and platelet-poor plasma (PPP) were prepared from adult porcine blood. Adult porcine chondrocytes were cultured in the presence of 10% PRP, 10% PPP or 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) for 3 days. Cell proliferation, proteoglycan (PG) and collagen synthesis were quantified, and the structure of newly synthesized PG and collagen was characterized.
Results Treatment with 10% PRP resulted in a small but significant increase in DNA content (+11%, vs FBS; P < 0.01; vs PPP; P < 0.001). PG and collagen syntheses by the PRP-treated chondrocytes were markedly higher than those by chondrocytes treated by FBS or PPP (PG; PRP: +115% vs FBS; +151% vs PPP, both P < 0.0001, collagen; PRP: +163% vs FBS; +163% vs PPP, both P < 0.0001). Biochemical analyses revealed that treatment with PRP growth factors did not markedly affect the types of PGs and collagens produced by porcine chondrocytes, suggesting that the cells remained phenotypically stable in the presence of PRP.
Conclusion PRP isolated from autologous blood may be useful as a source of anabolic growth factors for stimulating chondrocytes to engineer cartilage tissue.