Cells, soluble factors and matrix harmonically play the concert of allograft integration

Laura de Girolamo, Enrico Ragni, Magali Cucchiarini, Christian J.A. van Bergen, Ernst B. Hunziker, Susanna Chubinskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Implantation of allograft tissues has massively grown over the last years, especially in the fields related to sports medicine. Beside the fact that often no autograft option exists, autograft related disadvantages as donor-site morbidity and prolonged operative time are drastically reduced with allograft tissues. Despite the well documented clinical success for bone allograft procedures, advances in tissue engineering raised the interest in meniscus, osteochondral and ligament/tendon allografts. Notably, their overall success rates are constantly higher than 80%, making them a valuable treatment option in orthopaedics, especially in knee surgery. Complications reported for allografting procedures are a small risk of disease transmission, immunologic rejection, and decreased biologic incorporation together with nonunion at the graft-host juncture and, rarely, massive allograft resorption. Although allografting is a successful procedure, improved techniques and biological knowledge to limit these pitfalls and maximize graft incorporation are needed. A basic understanding of the biologic processes that affect the donor-host interactions and eventual incorporation and remodelling of various allograft tissues is a fundamental prerequisite for their successful clinical use. Further, the importance of the interaction of immunologic factors with the biologic processes involved in allograft incorporation has yet to be fully dissected. Finally, new tissue engineering techniques and use of adjunctive growth factors, cell based and focused gene therapies may improve the quality and uniformity of clinical outcomes. The aim of this review is to shed light on the biology of meniscus, osteochondral and ligament/tendon allograft incorporation and how collection and storage techniques may affect graft stability and embodiment. Level of evidence V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1717-1725
Number of pages9
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Allograft
  • Cartilage
  • Cytokines
  • Deep-freezing
  • Inflammation
  • Integration
  • Irradiation
  • Meniscus
  • Scaffold
  • Tendon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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