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J Orthop Res. 1998 Jul;16(4):414-20.

Viability of fibroblast-seeded ligament analogs after autogenous implantation.

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  • 1Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick 08903, USA.


Fibroblast-seeded collagen scaffolds or ligament analogs are potentially useful for reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. To provide lasting benefits, the seeded cells must survive implantation within the harsh synovial environment of the knee joint. Our objective was to determine the in vivo fate of autogenous fibroblast-seeded ligament analogs as a function of fibroblast source (anterior cruciate ligament or skin), implantation site (knee joint or subcutaneous space), and time after implantation (1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks). Before implantation, fibroblasts were labeled with PKH26-GL, a fluorescent membrane dye. Immediately after retrieval of the implant, the viability of the labeled seeded cells was assessed under a fluorescent microscope. Viable seeded fibroblasts remained attached to the collagen fibers within the ligament analogs for at least 4 weeks (skin fibroblasts) or 6 weeks (anterior cruciate ligament fibroblasts) after implantation. A larger number of viable seeded cells were consistently observed in the subcutaneous space than in the knee joint. Scaffold resorption prevented observation at the 8-week time period. Fibroblast-seeded ligament analogs remained viable for prolonged periods in the knee joint and therefore have the potential to influence the formation and remodeling of neoligament tissue after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament.

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