The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a major stabilizer of the knee, is commonly injured. Because of its intrinsic poor healing ability, a torn ACL is usually reconstructed by a graft. We developed a multi-phasic, or bone-ligament-bone, tissue-engineered construct for ACL grafts using bone marrow stromal cells and sheep as a model system. After 6 months in vivo, the constructs increased in cross section and exhibited a well-organized microstructure, native bone integration, a functional enthesis, vascularization, innervation, increased collagen content, and structural alignment. The constructs increased in stiffness to 52% of the tangent modulus and 95% of the geometric stiffness of native ACL. The viscoelastic response of the explants was virtually indistinguishable from that of adult ACL. These results suggest that our constructs after implantation can obtain physiologically relevant structural and functional characteristics comparable to those of adult ACL. They present a viable option for ACL replacement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering