Purpose: Delayed healing is a common problem whenever tendon allografts are used for tendon or ligament reconstruction. Repopulating the allograft with host cells may accelerate tendon regeneration, but cell penetration into the allograft tendon is limited. Processing the tendon surface with slits that guide cells into the allograft substrate may improve healing. The purpose of this study was to describe a surface modification of allograft tendon that includes slits to aid cell repopulation and lubrication to enhance tendon gliding. Methods: Canine flexor digitorum profundus tendons were used for this study. Cyclic gliding resistance was measured over 1000 cycles. Tensile stiffness was assessed for normal tendon, tendon decellularized with trypsin and Triton X-100 (decellularized group), tendon decellularized and perforated with multiple slits (MS group) and tendon decellularized, perforated with slits and treated with a carbodiimide-derivatized hyaluronic acid and gelatin (cd-HA-gelatin) surface modification (MS-SM group). To assess tendon repopulation, bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) were used in the decellularized and MS groups. DNA concentration and histology were evaluated and compared to normal tendons and nonseeded decellularized tendons. Results: The gliding resistance of the decellularized and MS groups was significantly higher compared with the normal group. There was no significant difference in gliding resistance between the decellularized and MS group. Gliding resistance of the normal group and MS-SM group was not significantly different. The Young's modulus was not significantly different among the four groups. The DNA concentration in the MS group was significantly lower than in normal tendons, but significantly higher than in decellularized tendons, with or without BMSCs. Viable BMSCs were found in the slits after 2 weeks in tissue culture. Conclusions: Tendon slits can successfully harbor BMSCs without compromising their survival and without changing tendon stiffness. Surface modification restores normal gliding function to the slit tendon. Clinical Relevance: A multislit tendon reseeded with BMSCs, with a surface treatment applied to restore gliding properties, may potentially promote tendon revitalization and accelerate healing for tendon or ligament reconstruction applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering