Assessing the Resident Progenitor Cell Population and the Vascularity of the Adult Human Meniscus
Surgical treatment of meniscal tears involves either meniscal repair or meniscectomy, which is the removal of the damaged meniscus. Recent studies have reported meniscectomies to significantly reduce the career lengths of professional athletes, while repairs demonstrated higher success rates at long-term follow-up. However, it still remains relatively unclear whether repair or resection would be favorable on a case-by-case basis. This study aims to better inform meniscus repair strategies by describing the cellular composition and blood supply of the meniscus from adult human menisci harvested from healthy donors.
Resident mesenchymal progenitor cells, which are a type of stem cell, were found to be present throughout the meniscal tissue, including the innermost “white-white” (WW) zone, which has been described as having limited healing abilities. Although larger vessels were found in the periphery of the meniscus, the WW zone demonstrated the presence of blood supply, albeit smaller vessels. The existence of stem cells and blood supply in the WW zone of the meniscus suggest the potential for the repair of meniscal tears extending into the WW zone in young healthy adults, when previously resection may have been used.