Regeneration of rotator cuff tear using electrospun poly(d,l-Lactide-Co-Glycolide) scaffolds in a rabbit model

Atsuyuki Inui, Takeshi Kokubu, Yutaka Mifune, Ryosuke Sakata, Hanako Nishimoto, Kotaro Nishida, Toshihiro Akisue, Ryosuke Kuroda, Makoto Satake, Hiroaki Kaneko, Hiroyuki Fujioka
Arthroscopy 2012, 28 (12): 1790-9

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate an application of poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) scaffold created by electrospinning in a rabbit rotator cuff defect model.

METHODS: Forty-two Japanese white rabbits were used in this study. Defects of the infraspinatus tendon were created, and the PLG scaffolds were implanted. Contralateral infraspinatus tendons were reattached without creating defects. Histologic analyses were performed 4, 8, and 16 weeks after the operation, and mechanical evaluations were performed 0, 4, 8, and 16 weeks after the operation.

RESULTS: Scaffold fibers remained without dissolution and spindle-shaped cells were observed inside of the scaffold at 4 weeks postoperatively. At 8 weeks, the PLG scaffold had dissolved and bone formation was observed at the scaffold-bone interface. At 16 weeks, the scaffold-bone interface matured and expression of type II collagen was observed. A statistical difference in ultimate failure load was not seen between the scaffold group and reattachment group or normal tendon after 8 weeks postoperatively. The stiffness in the scaffold group was not significantly different from that in the reattachment group at each time point. However, it was significantly weaker than normal tendon at each time point.

CONCLUSIONS: Transplantation of cell-free PLG scaffold showed cell migration and type II collagen and proteoglycan expression at the scaffold-bone junction by 16 weeks postoperatively with a sufficient ultimate failure load in a rabbit rotator cuff defect model.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The PLG scaffold could be applied to bridge rotator cuff defects. The results showed that bridging with scaffold can be equivalent to reattachment.

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