Translational cell therapy for cartilage lesions

Bernd’s group has investigated novel articular cartilage cell sources to evaluate differences in intrinsic repair to determine alternative cell sources for chondrocyte implantation for degenerative OA vs. healthy non-degenerative joints. He has shown that ex vivo re-differentiated lesion chondrocytes may hold non-utilized clinical potential for articular cartilage repair. His group was the first to show that maintaining the pericellular matrix (PCM) of chondrocytes, which is a protective microenvironment enclosure, vastly enhances the regenerative capacity of human OA chondrocytes.


2. Articular Chondrocyte Phenotype Regulation through the Cytoskeleton and the Signaling Processes That Originate from or Converge on the Cytoskeleton: Towards a Novel Understanding of the Intersection between Actin Dynamics and Chondrogenic Function. Lauer JC, Selig M, Hart ML, Kurz B, Rolauffs B. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 23;22(6):3279

Mechanotransduction and stiffness-sensing: mechanisms and opportunities to control multiple molecular aspects of cell phenotype as a design cornerstone of cell-instructive biomaterials for articular cartilage repair. Selig M, Jasmin JC, Hart ML, Rolauffs B. Int J Mol Sci 2020 July 21, 5399

Onset and progression of human osteoarthritis – can growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, or differential miRNA expression concomitantly induce proliferation, ECM degradation, and inflammation in articular cartilage? Boehme KA, Rolauffs B. Int J Mol Sci 2018 Aug 3;19

Human osteoarthritic chondrons outnumber patient- and joint-matched chondrocytes in hydrogel culture – future application in autologous cell-based OA cartilage repair? Rothdiener M, Uynuk-Ool T, Südkamp N, Aurich M, Grodzinsky AJ, Kurz B, Rolauffs B. J Tissue Eng Regen Med 2018 Feb;12:e1206-e1220

Induced re-differentiation of human chondrocytes from articular cartilage lesion in alginate bead culture after monolayer de-differentiation: an alternative cell source for cell-based therapies? Aurich M, Hofmann GO, Best N, Rolauffs B. Tissue Eng Part A 2018 Feb;24:275-286

Human osteochondritis dissecans fragment-derived chondrocyte characteristics ex vivo, after monolayer expansion-induced de-differentiation, and after re-differentiation in alginate bead culture. Aurich M, Hofmann GO, Gras F, Rolauffs B. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2018 May 24;19(1):168

The potential for synovium-derived stem cells in cartilage repair. Kubosch EJ, Lang GM, Fürst D, Kubosch DC, Izadpanah K, Rolauffs B, Südkamp NP, Schmal H. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2018 Feb 23;13:174-184

Tissue engineering-relevant characteristics of ex vivo and monolayer-expanded chondrocytes from the notch versus trochlea of human knee joints. Aurich M, Hofmann GO, Rolauffs B. Int Orthop 2017 Nov;41:2327-233 2017

Differences in type II collagen turnover of osteoarthritic human knee and ankle joints. Aurich M, Hofmann GO, Rolauffs B. Int Orthop. 2017 May;41(5):999-1005

Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) for cartilage defects of the knee: A guideline by the working group „Clinical Tissue Regeneration“ of the German Society of Orthopaedics and Trauma (DGOU). Niemeyer P, Albrecht D, Andereya S, Angele P, Ateschrang A, Aurich M, Baumann M, Bosch U, Erggelet C, Fickert S, Gebhard H, Gelse K, Günther D, Hoburg A, Kasten P, Kolombe T, Madry H, Marlovits S, Meenen NM, Müller PE, Nöth U, Petersen JP, Pietschmann M, Richter W, Rolauffs B, Rhunau K, Schewe B, Steinert A, Steinwachs MR, Welsch GH, Zinser W, Fritz J. Knee. 2016 Jun;23:426-35

In vitro phenotypic modulation of chondrocytes from knees of patients with osteochondritis dissecans: implications for chondrocyte implantation procedures. Aurich M, Hofmann GO, Mückley T, Mollenhauer J, Rolauffs B. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2012; 94-B: 62 – 67

Remodeling of Articular Cartilage and Subchondral Bone after Bone Grafting and Matrix-Associated Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation for Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee. Ochs BG, Müller-Horvat C, Albrecht D, Schewe B, Weise K, Aicher WK, Rolauffs B. Am J Sports Med. 2011; 39:764-73

Regeneration of cartilage and bone by defined subsets of mesenchymal stromal cells – Potential and pitfalls. Aicher WK, Bühring HJ, Hart M, Rolauffs B, Badke A, Klein G. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2011; 63:342-51

Histological and cell biological characterization of dissected cartilage fragments in human osteochondritis dissecans of the femoral condyle. Aurich M, Anders J, Trommer T, Liesaus E, Seifert M, Schomburg J, Rolauffs B, Wagner A, Mollenhauer J. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2006;126:606-14

[Ankle chondrocytes are more resistant to Interleukin-1 than chondrocytes derived from the knee]. Aurich M, Eger W, Rolauffs B, Margulis A, Kuettner KE, Mollenhauer JA, Cole AA. Orthopade. 2006;35:784-790

[Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) for Cartilage Defects of the Knee: A Guideline by the Working Group „Tissue Regeneration“ of the German Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology (DGOU)]. Niemeyer P, Andereya S, Angele P, Ateschrang A, Aurich M, Baumann M, Behrens P, Bosch U, Erggelet C, Fickert S, Fritz J, Gebhard H, Gelse K, Günther D, Hoburg A, Kasten P, Kolombe T, Madry H, Marlovits S, Meenen NM, Müller PE, Nöth U, Petersen JP, Pietschmann M, Richter W, Rolauffs B, Rhunau K, Schewe B, Steinert A, Steinwachs MR, Welsch GH, Zinser W, Albrecht D. Z Orthop Unfall. 2013;151:38-47

Arthroscopic Treatment of Osteochondral Lesions of the Ankle with Matrix-Associated Chondrocyte Implantation: Early Clinical and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Results. Aurich M, Bedi HS, Smith PJ, Rolauffs B, Mückley T, Clayton J, Blackney M. Am J Sports Med. 2011; 39:311-9

Meet the team

Professor Bernd Rolauffs, M.D.

Director of the G.E.R.N. Research Center

Section Head, Translational Medicine for Cell-Based Therapies

Univ.-Professor in Tissue Replacement

Dept. of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, Freiburg University Medical Center


Habilitation at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Doctor in Medicine, Medical School in Münster, Germany


Dept. of Biochemistry, Rush University, Chicago, USA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Biomedical Engineering, Boston, USA

Orthopedic RESIDENCY

Tübingen University Medical Center and BG Trauma Center Tübingen, Germany

Münster University Medical Center, Germany

Sunderland Royal Hospital, UK