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Open Badges Editorial

Serum levels of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate as a non-invasive method to evaluate healing after cartilage repair procedures

Andreas H Gomoll

Author Affiliations

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:118  doi:10.1186/ar2730

See related research article by Nganvongpanit et al.,

Published: 3 July 2009


Magnetic resonance imaging remains the only non-invasive method to assess the quality of cartilage repair procedures, but ideally would be complemented by other modalities, particularly blood tests. Nganvongpanit and colleagues investigated serum levels of hyaluronic acid (HA) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) for their correlation with tissue quality after cartilage repair with autologous chondrocytes versus subchondral drilling in a dog model. They reported better tissue quality in animals treated with chondrocyte implantation. Serum levels correlated with the histological score of biopsy samples: CS showed a negative (r = -0.69) and HA a positive (r = +0.46) correlation. Many questions remain to be answered before serum markers can provide a reliable, non-invasive tool to assess tissue quality, but these data provide an important foundation for additional research.