Engineering an in vitro model of a functional ligament from bone to bone

Jennifer Z. Paxton, Liam M. Grover, Keith Baar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


For musculoskeletal tissues that transmit loads during movement, the interfaces between tissues are essential to minimizing injury. Therefore, the reproduction of functional interfaces within engineered musculoskeletal tissues is critical to the successful transfer of the technology to the clinic. The goal of this work was to rapidly engineer ligament equivalents in vitro that contained both the soft tissue sinew and a hard tissue bone mimetic. This goal was achieved using cast brushite (CaHPO4•2H2O) anchors to mimic bone and a fibrin gel embedded with fibroblasts to create the sinew. The constructs formed within 7 days. Fourteen days after seeding, the interface between the brushite and sinew could withstand a stress of 9.51±1.7kPa before failure and the sinew reached a Young's modulus value of 0.16±0.03MPa. Treatment with ascorbic acid and proline increased the collagen content of the sinew (from 1.34%±0.2% to 8.34%±0.37%), strength of the interface (29.24±6kPa), and modulus of the sinew (2.69±0.25MPa). Adding transforming growth factor-β resulted in a further increase in collagen (11.25%±0.39%), interface strength (42±8kPa), and sinew modulus (5.46±0.68MPa). Both scanning electron and Raman microscopy suggested that the interface between the brushite and sinew mimics the in vivo tidemark at the enthesis. This work describes a major step toward the development of tissue-engineered ligaments for the repair of ligament ruptures in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3515-3525
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Medicine(all)


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