Opiates do not violate the viability and proliferative activity of human articular chondrocytes

Ofir Chechik, Ron Arbel, Moshe Salai, Roy Gigi, Mark Beilin, Ron Flaishon, Ronen Sever, Morsi Khashan, Tomer Ben-Tov, Ronit Gal-Levy, Avner Yayon, Sara Blumenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Articular cartilage injuries present a challenge for the clinician. Autologous chondrocyte implantation embedded in scaffolds are used to treat cartilage defects with favorable outcomes. Autologous serum is often used as a medium for chondrocyte cell culture during the proliferation phase of the process of such products. A previous report showed that opiate analgesics (fentanyl, alfentanil and diamorphine) in the sera have a significant inhibitory effect on chondrocyte proliferation. In order to determine if opiates in serum inhibit chondrocyte proliferation, twenty two patients who underwent knee arthroscopy and were anesthetized with either fentanyl or remifentanil were studied. Blood was drawn before and during opiate administration and up to 2 h after its discontinuation. The sera were used as medium for in vitro proliferation of both cryopreserved and freshly isolated chondrocytes, and the number and viability of cells were measured. There was no difference in the yield or cell viability between the serum samples of patients anesthetized with fentanyl when either fresh or cryopreserved human articular chondrocytes (hACs) were used. Some non-significant reduction in the yield of cells was observed in the serum samples of patients anesthetized with remifentanil when fresh hAC were used. We conclude that Fentanyl in human autologous serum does not inhibit in vitro hAC proliferation. Remifentanil may show minimal inhibitory effect on in vitro fresh hAC proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-395
Number of pages5
JournalCell and Tissue Banking
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chondrocyte
  • Opiate
  • Proliferation
  • Serum


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