The therapeutic effect of bone marrow stimulation techniques (BSTs) is mainly attributed to the role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from the bone marrow. However, no studies have directly shown the amount of MSCs drained by BSTs. This study hypothesized that differences in the opening of subchondral bone affect the number of MSCs drained from the bone marrow. We purposed that as the exposed area and hole size of BSTs vary, the number of MSCs drained out was measured. Three groups of different BSTs were designed that have variations in the sizes of total exposed area and individual holes. Three different BSTs using a curette, 1.5- and 0.8-mm awls were carried out on the full-thickness femoral cartilage defect of young rabbits. After BST, the number of MSCs in the blood clot was measured by CFU-Fs assay. As the size of the total exposed area increased, so did the number of MSCs obtained. The number of MSCs drained from bone marrow may vary depending on different BSTs and this could affect therapeutic efficacy of cartilage defect. As current microfracture (MF) method cannot drain the most MSCs clinically, more improved surgery technique is needed.
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