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A Rabbit Femoral Condyle Defect Model for Assessment of Osteochondral Tissue Regeneration

  • Jason L. Guo 1
  • Yu Seon Kim 1
  • Elysse A. Orchard 2
  • Jeroen J.J.P. van den Beucken 3
  • John A. Jansen 3
  • Mark E. Wong 4
  • Antonios G. Mikos 1
  • 1 - Department of Bioengineering - Rice University - Houston - Texas USA
  • 2 - Animal Resources Facility - Rice University - Houston - Texas USA
  • 3 - Department of Dentistry-Biomaterials - Radboudumc - Nijmegen - The Netherlands
  • 4 - Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery - The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston - Houston Texas USA


Osteochondral tissue repair represents a common clinical need, with multiple approaches in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine being investigated for the repair of defects of articular cartilage and subchondral bone. A full thickness rabbit femoral condyle defect is a clinically relevant model of an articulating and load bearing joint surface for the investigation of osteochondral tissue repair by various cell-, biomolecule-, and biomaterial-based implants. In this protocol, we describe the methodology and 1.5- to 2-h surgical procedure for the generation of a reproducible, full thickness defect for construct implantation in the rabbit medial femoral condyle. Furthermore, we describe a step-by-step procedure for osteochondral tissue collection and the assessment of tissue formation using standardized histological, radiological, mechanical, and biochemical analytical techniques. This protocol illustrates the critical steps for reproducibility and minimally invasive surgery as well as applications to evaluate the efficacy of cartilage and bone tissue engineering implants, with emphasis on the usage of histological and radiological measures of tissue growth.



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