Our group has finished a FIS of 2001 entitled “Osteoporosis idiopática masculina: evaluación de la función osteoblástica mediante histomorfometría y cultivo celular” (Reference Nº: 01/1422) in which we attempted to answer the question of whether osteoblasts in male osteporosis present a deficit in their function or number. The group also improved electron and optic microscopy techniques and the cellular and molecular laboratory techniques to evaluate cell apoptosis both in osteoblasts and chondrocytes.
This implementation permitted us to carry out a project sponsored by the Societat Catalana de Reumatologia entitled “Estudio ultraestructural y apoptosis en un modelo experimental de cultivo celular. Influencia del estado fisiopatológico previo del cartílago y de las fuerzas biomecánicas locales” and published in the Revista Española de Reumatología 2003, entitled “ Estudio de la apoptosis en la coxartrosis: influencia de las cargas biomecánicas locales”.
During this time, the technique for collection and culture of human chondrocytes from hip and knee samples has been consolidated. This has permitted us to study the effect of treatments for Osteoarthritic on chondrocyte function. Also, another study was carried out through the FIS 2001-2003 (Ref 01/0054-02) on the “Comportamiento de condrocitos humanos a nivel tisular: Influencia de las fuerzas biomecánicas locales y el estudio fisiopatológico del cartílago”. This study yielded results of great interest which have been published to the journal Arthritis Res Ther. 2006.
Following with the cell culture line, the culture of osteoblasts in three-dimensional type I collagen meshes was improved, which permitted us to study osteoblasts situated in bone tissue in vivo. Still on the line of three-dimensional cultures, a project financed by a grant CICYT-2002-2004 (Ref MAR2002-2678-C02-02) was started for the “Estudio comparativo de la viabilidad y funcionalidad de condrocitos sembrados sobre soportes poliméricos macroporosos” and coordinated with a group of engineers from the Centro de Materiales de la Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.
The results of this project were presented in the journal Biomaterials 2006 “Response of human chondrocytes to a non uniform distribution of hydrophilic domains on poly (ethyl acrylate-co-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) copolymers”. At present, we were working in a project CICYT- 2005-2007 (mat2004-04980-co2-02) entitled “ Soportes macroporosos biorreabsorbibles para la ingeniería tisular del cartílago” in order to continue with the study of the biologic response and its capacity to synthesise extracellular matrix of human chondrocytes seeded in bioreabsorbable three-dimensional scaffolds. This project aims to regenerate articular cartilage of rabbits using scaffolds that act as a guide for chondrocytes to generate extracellular matrix similar to the matrix of native tissue. This study was published in two articles in the J Biomed Mater Res A: Biodegradable PCL scaffolds with an interconnected spherical pore network for tissue engineering and A porous PCL scaffold promotes the human chondrocytes redifferentiation and hyaline-specific extracellular matrix protein synthesis. At the same time, studies were conducted using rabbits as experimental animals to analyse the morphologic and histologic repercussions produced in the tendon provocated by the operations to obtain an autograft.
Recently a new project has been granted in the field of cartilage regeneration using biorreabsorbable scaffolds in “in vivo” studies entitled “Estudio de la regeneración del cartílago articular con soportes tridimensionales biodegradables en un modelo in vivo de conejo”. In the last three years, our group initiated a collaboration with the Unité de Recherche en arthrose, Hôpital Notre Dame, (Montreal) directed by Johanne and Jean Pierre Pelletier which began with a 2 year stay of a member of our group (Jordi Monfort). This collaboration centres on study of small proteoglycans rich in leucine and collagenase-3 and their involvement in the physiopathology of osteoarthritis. The results obtained have given rise to a first publication.
Our research unit comprises a group of researchers with wide experience in the field of clinical research in surgery and degenerative diseases where the line of research on osteoporosis and osteoarthritis has been consolidated. In addition, we have succeeded in coordinating basic and clinical research in which the two scientific aspects complement each other with the possibility of obtaining results in basic research with clinical applicability.