Adipose therapeutics, including isolated cell fractions and tissue emulsifications, have been explored for osteoarthritis (OA) treatment; however, the optimal preparation method and bioactive tissue component for healing has yet to be determined. This in vitro study compared the effects of adipose preparations on cultured knee chondrocytes. De-identified human articular chondrocytes were co-cultured with adipose preparations for 36 or 72 h. Human adipose tissues were obtained from abdominal panniculectomy procedures and processed using three different techniques: enzymatic digestion to release stromal vascular fraction (SVF), emulsification with luer-to-luer transfer (nanofat), and processing in a bead-mill (Lipogems, Lipogems International SpA, Milan, Italy). Gene expression in both chondrocytes and adipose preparations was measured to assess cellular inflammation, catabolism, and anabolism. Results demonstrated that chondrocytes cultured with SVF consistently showed increased inflammatory and catabolic gene expression compared with control chondrocytes at both 36- and 72-h timepoints. Alternatively, chondrocytes co-cultured with either nanofat or bead-mill processed adipose derivatives yielded minimal pro-inflammatory effects and instead increased anabolism and regeneration of cartilage extracellular matrix. Interestingly, nanofat preparations induced transient matrix anabolism while Lipogems adipose consistently demonstrated increased matrix synthesis at both study timepoints after co-culture. This evaluation of the regenerative potential of adipose-derived preparations as a clinical tool for knee OA treatment suggests that mechanically processed preparations may be more efficacious than an isolated SVF cell preparation.
Lauren Kokai, Joseph Chen, Dong Wang, Sheri Wang, Francesco M. Egro, Benjamin Schilling, Hengyun Sun, Asim Ejaz, J. Peter Rubin, Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, Nam Vo, Kentaro Onishi, Gwendolyn Sowa