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Surg Innov. 2013 Jun;20(3):249-55. doi: 10.1177/1553350612451353. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Albumin-coated bioactive suture for cell transplantation.

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  • 1Institute of Human Physiology and Clinical Experimental Research, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.


Cell therapy holds the promise for a novel modality in the surgical toolkit; however, delivery of cells into damaged soft tissues constitutes a challenge. The authors hypothesized that growing stem cells on the surface of absorbable sutures in vitro and then implanting them via stitching would be a suitable delivery route for cell therapy. Fibronectin, poly-L-lysine, and albumin coatings were used to increase attachment of human and rat bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC) to polyfilament absorbable sutures in vitro. Fluorescence microscopy was performed to localize the cells on the suture. After 48 hours of incubation, the albumin-coated sutures had the highest cell number, and after 168 hours cell number reached confluency. In the in vivo experiments, a 10-mm incision was made on the triceps surae muscle of male Wistar rats and rat BMSC coated sutures were placed into the muscle. Two days after the implantation, cells were seen on the surface of the sutures as well as in the surrounding muscle tissue. Long-term results at 5 weeks showed that transplanted cells survived and the sutures were partly absorbed. In conclusion, coating absorbable sutures with proteins, especially serum albumin, improves attachment and proliferation of cells, and only 48 hours in culture is enough to cover the sutures sufficiently. Using these stitches in vivo resulted in short-term and long-term survival of cells. As a result, albumin-coated suture can be a vehicle for stem cell therapy in soft tissues such as muscle, tendon, or peripheral nerves.


albumin; bioactive suture; cell therapy; regenerative medicine; stem cells

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