Background: Cell-based tissue engineering techniques have been introduced to improve tendon repair outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine optimal concentrations of fibrinogen and thrombin for use as a scaffold to deliver stromal cells to the tendon repair site. Methods: Lacerated flexor digitorum profundus tendons from forty canine forepaws underwent simulated repair with fibrin gel interposition. The tendons were divided into five groups with different ratios of fibrinogen (mg/mL) to thrombin (NIH units/mL) used to form the gels. These ratios, which ranged from those found in normal hemostasis to those used clinically as adhesives, were 5:25 (the physiological ratio, used as a control), 40:250 (a low adhesive concentration of fibrinogen and a low adhesive concentration of thrombin [low-low group]), 80:250 (high-low group), 40:500 (low-high group), and 80:500 (high-high group). The failure load and tensile stiffness at time zero, compressive stiffness of the fibrin gel, and cell viability and migration were evaluated. Results: The failure loads of the high-low and high-high groups were significantly higher than that of the control group. The tensile stiffness of the high-high group was significantly higher than that of the control group. The high-low and high-high groups had significantly higher compressive stiffness than the other groups. While there was no significant difference among the groups regarding cell viability, the cells in the control, low-low, and low-high gels were spindle-shaped whereas those in the high-low and high-high groups were rounded. Cells migrated across scratch gaps within twenty-four hours in the control, low-low, and low-high groups, but not in the high-low and high-high groups. Conclusions: Higher concentrations of fibrinogen resulted in stronger and stiffer gels, but the strength was far less than that of a tendon suture and these gels were associated with a more rounded cell morphology and reduced cell migration. Therefore, lower concentrations of fibrinogen should be used if a fibrin gel is employed to deliver cells for tendon repair. Clinical Relevance: Concentrations of fibrinogen lower than those used in fibrin glue may be more appropriate if fibrin is employed to create a cell delivery matrix for tendon repair.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine