The objective of the study was to test the hypothesis that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) enhances meniscal tissue regeneration in vitro and in vivo. In the in vitro study, monolayer meniscal cell cultures were prepared, and 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium inner salt assay and 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine assay were performed to assess proliferative behavior in the presence of PRP. Alcian blue assay was performed to assess extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis. To detect the fibrocartilage-related messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expressions, real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed. In the in vivo study, 1.5-mm-diameter full-thickness defects were created in the avascular region of rabbit meniscus. Gelatin hydrogel (GH) was used as the drug delivery system for PRP growth factors.
The defects were filled as follows: Group A, GH with PRP; Group B, GH with platelet-poor plasma; Group C, GH only. Each group was evaluated histologically at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after surgery. PRP stimulated deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis and ECM synthesis (p < 0.05). Meniscal cells cultured with PRP showed greater mRNA expression of biglycan and decorin (p < 0.05). Histological findings showed that remnants of gelatin hydrogels existed at 4 weeks, indicating that the hydrogels could control release for approximately 4 weeks. Histological scoring of the defect sites at 12 weeks revealed significantly better meniscal repair in animals that received PRP with GH than in the other two groups. These findings suggest that PRP enhances the healing of meniscal defects.