Inducible perivascular cells contribute to the neochondrogenesis in grafted perichondrium



Autogeneic perichondrium was implanted above the cremaster muscle of the rat, and the new formation of two types of cartilage (types I and II) was confirmed. Also, granulation tissue was observed before the type II cartilage formation. Under these conditions, the contribution to the neocartilage of graft bed derived cells, mainly of the venule pericytes, was studied. To follow the pericyte lineage, we used a marker—Monastral Blue B—the administration of which was based on the principle of vascular labeling. While the perichondrium was kept free, before its implantation, the preformed (preexisting) venules in the cremaster muscle were exclusively labeled with Monastral Blue B, which was incorporated into the cytoplasm of pericytes and endothelial cells. After perichondrium implantation, the following sequence in tracer distribution was demonstrated. During the earlier stages, labeling was restricted to the pericytes and endothelial cells of venules in the graft bed. Later the tracer was observed in some endothelial cells and pericytes of the growing vessels and in fibroblast-like cells of the granulation tissue. Finally, some type II neochondrocytes appeared labeled. Tracer was not found in type I neochondrocytes. The presence of label in type II neochondrocytes demonstrates that they arise from progenitor cells present in the graft bed, principally from small venule pericytes. Therefore, the findings in this study provide greater evidence that surrounding soft tissues may increase the process of cartilage regeneration from cells present in the perichondrium by contributing inducible perivascular cells.