Cell-based tissue engineered flexor tendon allograft: A canine in vivo study

Subin Lin, Ramona Reisdorf, Chun Kuan Lu, Zhanwen Wang, Kai Nan An, Steven L. Moran, Peter C. Amadio, Chunfeng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to compare the clinically established autologous extrasynovial tendon graft to a newly developed tissue-engineered allograft (Eng-allograft) in terms of functional outcomes following flexor tendon reconstruction in a canine model. The second and fifth flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendons from 16 dogs were transected and repaired in Zone II. After 6 weeks of cage activity, the repaired tendons were intentionally ruptured, creating a clinically relevant model for reconstruction. The re-ruptured FDP tendons were then reconstructed using either the clinically standard autologous extrasynovial tendon graft or the Eng-allograft, which had been revitalized with autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) and synovialized using carbodiimide derivatized synovial fluid (cd-SYN). Following 12 weeks of postoperative rehabilitation, the functional outcomes of the surgical digits were evaluated. The Eng-allograft group exhibited improved digital function, including lower digit work of flexion and reduced adhesion status, while maintaining similar tendon gliding resistance compared to the autograft group. However, the failure load of both the distal and proximal host/graft conjunctions in the Eng-allograft group was significantly lower than that of the autograft group with higher graft rupture at the host−graft junction. In conclusion, the decellularized allogenic intrasynovial tendon, when revitalized BMSCs and synovialized with cd-SYN, demonstrates positive effects on digital function improvement and adhesion reduction. However, the healing at both proximal and distal graft/host junctions is far lower than the autograft. Further research is needed to enhance the healing capacity of allograft conjunctions, aiming to achieve a comparable level of healing seen with autografts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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