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Original Article
October 2006

Stored Human Septal Chondrocyte Viability Analyzed by Confocal Microscopy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Hicks and Watson) and Department of Bioengineering (Messrs Sage, Jadin, and Agustin, Ms Schumacher, and Dr Sah), University of California, San Diego; and Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, San Diego (Drs Hicks and Watson).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006;132(10):1137-1142. doi:10.1001/archotol.132.10.1137

Objectives  To analyze the effects of prolonged storage time, at warm and cold temperatures, on the viability of human nasal septal chondrocytes and to understand the implications for tissue engineering of septal cartilage.

Design  Basic science.

Subjects  Septal cartilage was obtained from 10 patients and placed in bacteriostatic isotonic sodium chloride solution. Four specimens were kept at 23°C, and 4 were kept at 4°C. The viability of the chondrocytes within the cartilage was assessed using confocal laser scanning microscopy every 5 days. The 2 other specimens were assessed for viability on the day of harvest.

Results  Viability on the day of harvest was 96%, implying minimal cell death from surgical trauma. After 1 week, cell survival in all specimens was essentially unchanged from the day of harvest. At 23°C, the majority (54%) of cells were alive after 20 days. At 4°C, 70% of cells survived 1 month and 38% were alive at 2 months. Qualitatively, chondrocytes died in a topographically uniform distribution in warm specimens, whereas cold specimens displayed a more irregular pattern of cell death.

Conclusion  Septal chondrocytes remain viable for prolonged periods when stored in simple bacteriostatic isotonic sodium chloride solution, and such survival is enhanced by cold storage.