Chinese medical journal

Macroscopic and histological evaluations of meniscal allograft transplantation using gamma irradiated meniscus: a comparative in vivo animal study.

PMID 25963360


Many studies suggest that the gamma irradiation decreases allograft strength in a dose-dependent manner. However, no study has demonstrated that this decrease in strength translates into higher failure rate in meniscal allograft transplantation (MAT). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of gamma irradiation on macroscopic and histological alterations of transplanted meniscal tissue and joint cartilage after MAT. Medial total meniscectomies were performed on the right knees of 60 New Zealand white rabbits. All meniscal allografts were divided into three groups (20 in each group) and then sterilized with 0 Mrad, 1.5 Mrad, or 2.5 Mrad of gamma irradiation. For each group, 5 menisci were randomly chosen for scanning electron microscopic (SEM) analysis and the remaining 15 were prepared for MAT surgeries. Forty-five right knees received MAT surgeries (0 Mrad group, 1.5 Mrad group, 2.5 Mrad group, 15 in each group), whereas the remaining 15 only received medial meniscectomy (Meni group). The left knees of the Meni group were chosen as the Sham group (n = 15). All the rabbits were sacrificed at week 24 postoperatively. Cartilage of the medial compartment of each group was evaluated macroscopically using the International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS) score and then histologically using the Mankin score based on the Masson Trichrome staining. The SEM analysis confirmed that the meniscal collagen fibers would be significantly damaged as the dose of gamma irradiation increased. At week 24, the overall scores of macroscopic evaluations of the transplanted meniscal tissue showed no significant differences among the three groups receiving MAT surgeries, except for 2 in the 2.5 Mrad group presented partial radial tears at midbody. The ICRS scores and the Mankin scores showed the lowest in the Sham group and the highest in the Meni group (P < 0.05). For the three groups receiving MAT surgeries, the 2.5 Mrad group showed significant higher ICRS scores and Mankin scores than both the 0 Mrad group and the 1.5 Mrad group (P < 0.05). Whereas the 1.5 Mrad group presented similar results to the 0 Mrad group concerning both the ICRS scores and the Mankin scores. The current in vivo animal study proved that although the meniscal collagen fibers were damaged after gamma irradiation, the failure rate of MAT surgeries might not significantly increase if the irradiation dose was <1.5 Mrad for New Zealand white rabbits.