The effectiveness of demineralized cortical bone matrix in a chronic rotator cuff tear model

Tanujan Thangarajah, Frederick Henshaw, Anita Sanghani-Kerai, Simon M. Lambert, Gordon W. Blunn, Catherine J. Pendegrass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of demineralized bone matrix (DBM) on rotator cuff tendon-bone healing. The hypothesis was that compared with a commercially available dermal matrix scaffold, DBM would result in a higher bone mineral density and regenerate a morphologically superior enthesis in a rat model of chronic rotator cuff degeneration.

Methods - Eighteen female Wistar rats underwent unilateral detachment of the supraspinatus tendon. Three weeks later, tendon repair was carried out in animals randomized into 3 groups: group 1 animals were repaired with DBM (n = 6); group 2 received augmentation with the dermal scaffold (n = 6); and group 3 (controls) underwent nonaugmented tendon-bone repair (n = 6). Specimens were retrieved at 6 weeks postoperatively for histologic analysis and evaluation of bone mineral density.

Results - No failures of tendon-bone healing were noted throughout the study. All groups demonstrated closure of the tendon-bone gap with a fibrocartilaginous interface. Dermal collagen specimens exhibited a disorganized structure with significantly more abnormal collagen fiber arrangement and cellularity than in the DBM-based repairs. Nonaugmented repairs exhibited a significantly higher bone mineral density than in DBM and the dermal collagen specimens and were not significantly different from control limbs that were not operated on.

Conclusion - The application of DBM to a rat model of chronic rotator cuff degeneration did not improve the composition of the healing enthesis compared with nonaugmented controls and a commercially available scaffold. However, perhaps the most important finding of this study was that the control group demonstrated a similar outcome to augmented repairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-626
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number4
Early online date2 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Acellular Dermis
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Matrix
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cortical Bone
  • Female
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Tissue Scaffolds
  • Wound Healing


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