Porous tantalum and poly-ε-caprolactone biocomposites for osteochondral defect repair: Preliminary studies in rabbits

Eike H. Mrosek, Jan C. Schagemann, Hsi Wei Chung, James S. Fitzsimmons, Michael J. Yaszemski, Rodrigo M. Mardones, Shawn W. O'Driscoll, Gregory G. Reinholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Currently, various techniques are in use for the repair of osteochondral defects, none of them being truly satisfactory and they are often two step procedures. Comorbidity due to cancellous bone harvest from the iliac crest further complicates the procedure. Our previous in vitro studies suggest that porous tantalum (TM) or poly-ε-caprolactone scaffolds (PCL) in combination with periosteal grafts could be used for osteochondral defect repair. In this in vivo study, cylindrical osteochondral defects were created on the medial and lateral condyles of 10 rabbits and filled with TM/periosteum or PCL/periosteum biosynthetic composites (n = 8 each). The regenerated osteochondral tissue was then analyzed histologically, and evaluated in an independent and blinded manner by five different observers using a 30-point histological score. The overall histological score for PCL/periosteum was significantly better than for TM/periosteum. However, most of the regenerates were well integrated with the surrounding bone (PCL/periosteum, n = 6.4; TM/periosteum, n = 7) along with partial restoration of the tidemark (PCL/periosteum, n = 4.4; TM/periosteum, n = 5.6). A cover of hyaline-like morphology was found after PCL/periosteum treatment (n = 4.8), yet the cartilage yields were inconsistent. In conclusion, the applied TM and PCL scaffolds promoted excellent subchondral bone regeneration. Neo-cartilage formation from periosteum supported by a scaffold was inconsistent. This is the first study to show in vivo results of both PCL andTMscaffolds for a novel approach to osteochondral defect repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Cartilage engineering
  • Neocartilage
  • Osteochondral defects
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans
  • Poly-ε-caprolactone
  • Scaffolds
  • Tantalum
  • Trabecular metal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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