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Tissue Eng Part A. 2016 Jul;22(13-14):907-16. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2015.0519. Epub 2016 Jun 27.

Physiologically Distributed Loading Patterns Drive the Formation of Zonally Organized Collagen Structures in Tissue-Engineered Meniscus.

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1 Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University , Ithaca, New York.
2 Departments of Materials and Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom .
3 Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University , Ithaca, New York.


The meniscus is a dense fibrocartilage tissue that withstands the complex loads of the knee via a unique organization of collagen fibers. Attempts to condition engineered menisci with compression or tensile loading alone have failed to reproduce complex structure on the microscale or anatomic scale. Here we show that axial loading of anatomically shaped tissue-engineered meniscus constructs produced spatial distributions of local strain similar to those seen in the meniscus when the knee is loaded at full extension. Such loading drove formation of tissue with large organized collagen fibers, levels of mechanical anisotropy, and compressive moduli that match native tissue. Loading accelerated the development of native-sized and aligned circumferential and radial collagen fibers. These loading patterns contained both tensile and compressive components that enhanced the major biochemical and functional properties of the meniscus, with loading significantly improved glycosaminoglycan (GAG) accumulation 200-250%, collagen accumulation 40-55%, equilibrium modulus 1000-1800%, and tensile moduli 500-1200% (radial and circumferential). Furthermore, this study demonstrates local changes in mechanical environment drive heterogeneous tissue development and organization within individual constructs, highlighting the importance of recapitulating native loading environments. Loaded menisci developed cartilage-like tissue with rounded cells, a dense collagen matrix, and increased GAG accumulation in the more compressively loaded horns, and fibrous collagen-rich tissue in the more tensile loaded outer 2/3, similar to native menisci. Loaded constructs reached a level of organization not seen in any previous engineered menisci and demonstrate great promise as meniscal replacements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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