The role of patient characteristics and the effects of angiogenic therapies on the microvasculature of the meniscus: A systematic review

Thies J.N. van der Lelij*, Laura M. Gerritsen, Ewoud R.A. van Arkel, Roelina Munnik-Hagewoud, Rutger G. Zuurmond, Stijn Keereweer, Peter van Schie, Pieter B.A.A. van Driel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Considerable interindividual variation in meniscal microvascularization has been reported. The purpose of this review was to identify which patient characteristics affect meniscal microvascularization and provide a structured overview of angiogenic therapies that influence meniscal neovascularization. Methods: A systematic literature search was undertaken using PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane library and Emcare from inception to November 2021. Studies reporting on (1) Patient characteristics that affect meniscal microvascularization, or (2) Therapies that induce neovascularization in meniscal tissue were included. Studies were graded in quality using the Anatomical Quality Assessment (AQUA) tool. The study was registered with PROSPERO(ID:CRD42021242479). Results: Thirteen studies reported on patient characteristics and eleven on angiogenic therapies. The influence of Age, Degenerative knee, Gender, and Race was reported. Age is the most studied factor. The entire meniscus is vascularized around birth. With increasing age, vascularization decreases from the inner to the peripheral margin. Around 11 years, blood vessels are primarily located in the peripheral third of the menisci. There seems to be a further decrease in vascularization with increasing age in adults, yet conflicting literature exists. Degenerative changes of the knee also seem to influence meniscal vascularization, but evidence is limited. Angiogenic therapies to improve meniscal vascularization have only been studied in preclinical setting. The use of synovial flap transplantation, stem cell therapy, vascular endothelial growth factor, and angiogenin has shown promising results. Conclusion: To decrease failure rates of meniscal repair, a better understanding of patient-specific vascular anatomy is essential. Translational clinical research is needed to investigate the clinical value of angiogenic therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Jan Schoones (JS), clinical librarian, for his help with the literature search.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


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