Transcutaneous Treatment with Vetdrop® Sustains the Adjacent Cartilage in a Microfracturing Joint Defect Model in Sheep

M Sidler1, 2, N Fouché1, I Meth1, F von Hahn3, B von Rechenberg*, 1, 4, PW Kronen1, 2, 4
1 Musculoskeletal Research Unit (MSRU), Equine Hospital, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2 Veterinary Anaesthesia Services International, Winterthur, Switzerland
3 MedDrop Technology AG, Thundorf, Switzerland
4 Competence Center for Applied Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine (CABMM), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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© Sidler et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Musculoskeletal Research Unit, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland; Tel: +41 44 635 84 10; E-mail:


The significance of the adjacent cartilage in cartilage defect healing is not yet completely understood. Furthermore, it is unknown if the adjacent cartilage can somehow be influenced into responding after cartilage damage. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether the adjacent cartilage can be better sustained after microfracturing in a cartilage defect model in the stifle joint of sheep using a transcutaneous treatment concept (Vetdrop®).

Carprofen and chito-oligosaccharids were added either as single components or as a mixture to a vehicle suspension consisting of a herbal carrier oil in a water-in-oil phase. This mixture was administered onto the skin with the aid of a specific applicator during 6 weeks in 28 sheep, allocated into 6 different groups, that underwent microfracturing surgery either on the left or the right medial femoral condyle. Two groups served as control and were either treated intravenously or sham treated with oxygen only. Sheep were sacrificed and their medial condyle histologically evaluated qualitatively and semi-quantitatively according to 4 different scoring systems (Mankin, ICRS, Little and O’Driscoll).

The adjacent cartilage of animals of group 4 treated transcutaneously with vehicle, chito-oligosaccharids and carprofen had better histological scores compared to all the other groups (Mankin 3.3±0.8, ICRS 15.7±0.7, Little 9.0±1.4).

Complete defect filling was absent from the transcutaneous treatment groups.

The experiment suggests that the adjacent cartilage is susceptible to treatment and that the combination of vehicle, chitooligosaccharids and carprofen may sustain the adjacent cartilage during the recovery period.

Keywords: Transcutaneous application system, adjacent cartilage, cartilage defect model.