Augmentation of tendon healing in an intraarticular bone tunnel with use of a bone growth factor

Kyle Anderson, Aruna M. Seneviratne, Kazutaka Izawa, Brent L. Atkinson, Hollis G. Potter, Scott A. Rodeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that an exogenous bone growth factor could augment healing of a tendon graft in a bone tunnel in a rabbit anterior cruciate ligament-reconstruction model. Seventy rabbits underwent bilateral anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions with a semitendinosus tendon graft. One limb received a collagen sponge carrier vehicle containing a mixture of bone-derived proteins while the contralateral limb was treated with either no sponge or a sponge without bone-derived proteins. The reconstruction was evaluated at 2, 4, or 8 weeks with histologic, biomechanical, and magnetic resonance imaging analysis. Histologic analysis demonstrated that specimens treated with bone-derived proteins had a more consistent, dense interface tissue and closer apposition of new bone to the graft, with occasional formation of a fibrocartilaginous interface, when compared with control specimens. The treated specimens had significantly higher load-to-failure rates than did control specimens. Treatment with bone-derived proteins resulted in an average increase in tensile strength of 65%. The treated specimens were stronger than control specimens at each time point, but the difference was greatest at 8 weeks. On the basis of signal characteristics and new bone formation, magnetic resonance imaging was useful for predicting which limb was treated, the site of failure, and the limbs with higher load-to-failure values. This study demonstrates the potential for augmenting tendon healing in an intraarticular bone tunnel using an osteoinductive growth factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-698
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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