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J Orthop Res. 2009 Dec;27(12):1612-8. doi: 10.1002/jor.20932.

TRITON-X is most effective among three decellularization agents for ACL tissue engineering.

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  • 1Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Enders 1016, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. patrick.vavken@childrens.harvard.edu


Ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are still associated with high rates of long-term complications, even in patients undergoing modern, state-of-the-art replacement. Tissue-engineering approaches have been shown to be of value in improving treatment of ACL ruptures. However, the success of tissue-engineering procedures depends on the choice of an appropriate biomaterial. Decellularized ACL tissue potentially combines the structural composition of the targeted tissue with a reduced risk of graft rejection or disease transmission. In this study, we tested the effectiveness of currently available decellularization methods based on TRITON-X, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and trypsin. After identifying the most effective decellularization method, the capacity for reseeding with ACL fibroblasts was studied. All decellularization protocols reduced DNA content, with TRITON-X treatment having the greatest effect. Concurrently, decellularization did not affect tissue collagen or total protein content, but did decrease glycosaminoglycan content. TRITON-X also resulted the least glycosaminoglycan depletion. Porcine ACL tissue after decellularization with TRITON-X could be successfully reseeded with human ACL fibroblasts as demonstrated by steady DNA content and increasing pro-collagen expression.

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