Rotator cuff tendon-to-bone healing at 12 months after patch grafting of acellular dermal matrix in an animal model

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There is no report to investigate the histology and biomechanical strength of remodeled tendon-to-bone junction more than 6 months after patch grafting with acellular dermal matrix (ADM) on rotator cuff defect. We investigated those 12 months after surgery and hypothesized that a new native enthesis is not regenerated and the biomechanical strength is inferior to normal control. Adult male Sprague–Dawley rats underwent ADM patch grafting for the rotator cuff defect. Quantitative histological analysis, immunohistochemical analysis for collagen type I and III, and biomechanical testing were performed 12 months after surgery. The controls were unoperated age-matched rats. In the grafted rats, the collagen arrangement was more irregular and the fibrocartilage layer was smaller at the tendon-bone interface than in the controls although dense collagen fibers in the remodeled tendon were observed; the number of chondrocytes, the percentage of chondrocytes aligned in rows, and the area of the fibrocartilage layer were significantly smaller than in the control group (p = 0.0252, 0.0039, and 0.0252, respectively). Grafted specimens showed significantly lower collagen organization in the midsubstance and tendon-bone interface than the controls (p = 0.0252 and 0.0374, respectively). Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that the remodeled tendon fibers were stained more strongly for type III than type I. At 12 months postoperatively, the ultimate load to failure was significantly lower in the graft group than normal control (p = 0.0026); that was 47.8% of normal controls. 12 months after rotator cuff patch grafting with ADM, the formation of a new enthesis grossly resembled the native structure but there was poor cellular organization and the biomechanical strength of remodeled tendon-to-bone was only 48% of normal controls. Advances in tissue engineering and postoperative rehabilitation are needed to promote the healing process after rotator cuff patch grafting.




Ide, J., & Tokunaga, T. (2018). Rotator cuff tendon-to-bone healing at 12 months after patch grafting of acellular dermal matrix in an animal model. Journal of Orthopaedic Science, 23(2), 207–212.

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