Cell-laden composite suture threads for repairing damaged tendons

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Costa-Almeida R., Domingues R. M. A., Fallahi A., Avci H., Yazdi I. K., Akbari M., ...More

JOURNAL OF TISSUE ENGINEERING AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE, vol.12, no.4, pp.1039-1048, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Tendons have limited regenerative capacity due to their low cellularity and hypovascular nature, which results in poor clinical outcomes of presently used therapies. As tendon injuries are often observed in active adults, it poses an increasing socio-economic burden on healthcare systems. Currently, suture threads are used during surgical repair to anchor the tissue graft or to connect injured ends. Here, we created composite suture threads coated with a layer of cell-laden hydrogel that can be used for bridging the injured tissue aiming at tendon regeneration. In addition, the fibres can be used to engineer 3-dimensional constructs through textile processes mimicking the architecture and mechanical properties of soft tissues, including tendons and ligaments. Encapsulated human tendon-derived cells migrated within the hydrogel and aligned at the surface of the core thread. An up-regulation of tendon-related genes (scleraxis and tenascin C) and genes involved in matrix remodelling (matrix metalloproteinases 1, matrix metalloproteinases 2) was observed. Cells were able to produce a collagen-rich matrix, remodelling their micro-environment, which is structurally comparable to native tendon tissue.