Synthetic collagen fascicles for the regeneration of tendon tissue.

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Kew, SJ 
Gwynne, JH 
Enea, D 
Brookes, R 
Rushton, N 

The structure of an ideal scaffold for tendon regeneration must be designed to provide a mechanical, structural and chemotactic microenvironment for native cellular activity to synthesize functional (i.e. load bearing) tissue. Collagen fibre scaffolds for this application have shown some promise to date, although the microstructural control required to mimic the native tendon environment has yet to be achieved allowing for minimal control of critical in vivo properties such as degradation rate and mass transport. In this report we describe the fabrication of a novel multi-fibre collagen fascicle structure, based on type-I collagen with failure stress of 25-49 MPa, approximating the strength and structure of native tendon tissue. We demonstrate a microscopic fabrication process based on the automated assembly of type-I collagen fibres with the ability to produce a controllable fascicle-like, structural motif allowing variable numbers of fibres per fascicle. We have confirmed that the resulting post-fabrication type-I collagen structure retains the essential phase behaviour, alignment and spectral characteristics of aligned native type-I collagen. We have also shown that both ovine tendon fibroblasts and human white blood cells in whole blood readily infiltrate the matrix on a macroscopic scale and that these cells adhere to the fibre surface after seven days in culture. The study has indicated that the synthetic collagen fascicle system may be a suitable biomaterial scaffold to provide a rationally designed implantable matrix material to mediate tendon repair and regeneration.

Animals, Calorimetry, Differential Scanning, Cattle, Collagen, Cross-Linking Reagents, Fibrillar Collagens, Fibroblasts, Humans, Mechanical Phenomena, Microscopy, Polarization, Regeneration, Scattering, Small Angle, Sheep, Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared, Tendons, X-Ray Diffraction
Journal Title
Acta Biomater
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Elsevier BV