Effect of Poloxamer 407 as a carrier vehicle on rotator cuff healing in a rat model

Soung-Yon Kim, Soo-Won Chae, Juneyoung Lee
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2014 March 1, 9 (1): 12

BACKGROUND: In vivo studies showing the effects of biologic healing-promoting factors on tendon-to-bone healing after rotator cuff repair have focused only on biologic healing-promoting factors and have not taken into consideration the effect of the carrier vehicle. Moreover, most studies have evaluated the healing process using different carrier vehicles, each of which may have specific effects on tendon healing. This may explain the large variability seen in outcomes in research studies. In this study, we investigated the effects of Poloxamer 407 as a carrier vehicle on rotator cuff healing at the repair site and compared it with those of a collagen sponge, which is a commonly used carrier vehicle.

METHODS: Fifty-seven adult male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent detachment and immediate repair of the bilateral supraspinatus tendons. Rats were randomly assigned to three groups: repair only, repair with collagen sponge, and repair with Poloxamer 407. The repairs were evaluated at 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks after surgery with histological analysis and biomechanical testing.

RESULTS: At 4 weeks, more cellular organization, a greater number of collagen fibers, and increased maturity of collagen fibers were observed in the repair with Poloxamer 407 group than in the other groups. The repair with collagen sponge group had delayed development and collagen fiber maturation. Significant differences in the biomechanical properties were found between groups at 4 weeks. Stiffness in the case of the repair with Poloxamer 407 group was significantly higher than that in the repair with collagen sponge group. The modulus was significantly lower in the repair with collagen sponge group than in the repair only group. However, the use of Poloxamer 407 versus the collagen sponge did not significantly affect the biomechanical properties of the repaired tendons at 8 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: Carrier vehicles may have differing effects at the early stages of rotator cuff healing. The use of Poloxamer 407 as a carrier vehicle may be useful for promoting the early stages of healing and for maintaining the initial biomechanical properties of the repaired rotator cuff tendon.

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