Design and Analysis of a Collagenous Anterior Cruciate Ligament Replacement
Walters, Valerie Irene
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The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) contributes to normal knee function, but it is commonly injured and has poor healing capabilities. Of the current treatments available for ACL reconstruction, none replicate the long-term mechanical properties of the ACL. It was hypothesized that tissue-engineered scaffolds comprised of reconstituted type I collagen fibers would have the potential to yield a more suitable treatment for ACL reconstruction. Ultra-violet (UV) radiation and 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) were investigated as possible crosslinking methods for the scaffolds, and EDC crosslinking was deemed more appropriate given the gains in strength and stiffness afforded to individual collagen fibers. Scaffolds were composed of 54 collagen fibers, which were made using an extrusion process, organized in accordance with a braid-twist design; the addition of a hydrogel (gelatin) to this scaffold was also investigated. The scaffolds were tested mechanically to determine ultimate tensile strength (UTS), Youngâ s modulus, and viscoelastic properties. Scaffolds were also evaluated for the cellular activity of primary rat lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) fibroblast cells after 7, 14, and 21 days. The crosslinked scaffolds without gelatin exhibited mechanical and viscoelastic properties that were more similar to the human ACL. Cellular activity on the crosslinked scaffolds without gelatin was observed after 7 and 21 days, but no significant increase was observed with time. Although more studies are needed, these results indicate that a braid- twist scaffold (composed of collagen fibers) has the potential to serve as a scaffold for ACL replacement.
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