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Open Orthop J. 2012;6:231-8. doi: 10.2174/1874325001206010231. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Safety of intra-articular use of atelocollagen for enhanced tissue repair.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Collagen is an important biomaterial in intra-articular tissue engineering, but there are unanswered questions about its safety. We hypothesize that the addition of type-I-collagen for primary repair of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) might result in a local and systemic reaction in a porcine model after 15 weeks as demonstrated by joint effusion, synovial thickening, elevated intraarticular and systemic leukocyte counts. Further, this reaction might be aggravated by the addition of a platelet concentrate. Eighteen porcine ACLs were transected and repaired with either sutures (n=6), a collagen sponge (n=6), or a collagen-platelet-composite (CPC; n=6). Twelve intact contralateral knees served as controls (n=12). No significant synovial thickening or joint effusion was seen in the collagen-treated knees. Synovial fluid leukocyte counts showed no significant differences between surgically treated and intact knees, and no differences were seen in leukocyte counts of the peripheral blood. The addition of a platelet concentrate to the knee joint resulted in lower serum levels of IL-1β, but serum levels of TNF-α were not significantly different between groups. In conclusion, the presence of collagen, with or without added platelets, did not increase the local or systemic inflammatory reactions following surgery, suggesting that Type I collagen is safe to use in the knee joint.


ACL; biomaterials; collagen; safety; tissue engineering.

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