Decellularized porcine xenograft for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a histological study in sheep comparing cross-pin and cortical suspensory femoral fixation

Adam T. Hexter, Karin A. Hing, Fares S. Haddad, Gordon Blunn

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Abstract

Aims: To evaluate graft healing of decellularized porcine superflexor tendon (pSFT) xenograft in an ovine anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction model using two femoral fixation devices. Also, to determine if pSFT allows functional recovery of gait as compared with the preoperative measurements.

Methods: A total of 12 sheep underwent unilateral single-bundle ACL reconstruction using pSFT. Two femoral fixation devices were investigated: Group 1 (n = 6) used cortical suspensory fixation (Endobutton CL) and Group 2 (n = 6) used cross-pin fixation (Stratis ST). A soft screw was used for tibial fixation. Functional recovery was quantified using force plate analysis at weeks 5, 8, and 11. The sheep were euthanized after 12 weeks and comprehensive histological analysis characterized graft healing at the graft-bone interface and the intra-articular graft (ligamentization).

Results: The pSFT remodelled into a ligament-like structure and no adverse inflammatory reaction was seen. The ground reaction force in the operated leg of the Endobutton group was higher at 11 weeks (p < 0.05). An indirect insertion was seen at the graft-bone interface characterized by Sharpey-like fibres. Qualitative differences in tendon remodelling were seen between the two groups, with greater crimp-like organization and more aligned collagen fibres seen with Endobutton fixation. One graft rupture occurred in the cross-pin group, which histologically showed low collagen organization.

Conclusion: Decellularized pSFT xenograft remodels into a ligament-like structure after 12 weeks and regenerates an indirect-type insertion with Sharpey-like fibres. No adverse inflammatory reaction was observed. Cortical suspensory femoral fixation was associated with more enhanced graft remodelling and earlier functional recovery when compared with the stiffer cross-pin fixation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
JournalBone & Joint Research
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020

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