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Biomaterials. 2008 Sep;29(27):3683-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.05.017. Epub 2008 Jun 9.

Ligament regeneration using a knitted silk scaffold combined with collagen matrix.

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Center for Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.


This study was aimed to develop a new practical ligament scaffold by synergistic incorporation of silk fibers, a knitted structure, and a collagen matrix. The efficacy for ligament tissue engineering was investigated in vitro and in animal models. Cells cultured on a collagen substrate expressed ligament matrix genes at higher levels than those on a silk substrate. The silk scaffold elicited little inflammatory reaction and degraded slowly after subcutaneous implantation in a mouse model. In the rabbit MCL defect model, MCLs treated with a silk+collagen scaffold deposited more collagen, had better mechanical properties, and showed more native microstructure with larger diameter collagen fibrils and stronger scaffold-ligament interface healing than untreated MCLs and those treated with silk scaffolds. These results demonstrated that the knitted silk+collagen sponge scaffold improves structural and functional ligament repair by regulating ligament matrix gene expression and collagen fibril assembly. The findings are the first to highlight the important roles of biomaterials in ligament regeneration biology. Also, the concept of an "internal-space-preservation" scaffold is proposed for the tissue repair under physical loading.

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