Porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) is a collagenous acellular matrix which has found substantial utility as a tissue growth scaffold. In the present study, the utility of porcine renal capsule matrix (RCM) was compared to SIS in a rat Achilles tenotomy repair model. Groups of rats underwent surgical tenotomy followed by either no repair, repair with a SIS graft, or repair with a RCM graft. The weight-bearing ability of the manipulated limb was evaluated for 10 days following surgery using a subjective scale. Tenotomy sites sampled 28 days after surgery were numerically graded for degree of histologic change. There were no statistically significant differences between groups with respect to return to weight-bearing ability (p >or= 0.05) or degree of histologic change (p >or= 0.001); however, a non-significant trend suggested that rats treated with SIS or RCM experienced a faster return to limb function than untreated rats, and RCM-treated rats had slightly higher scores for degree of histologic change, suggesting a more rapid repair of the tenotomy site than in SIS-treated or untreated rats. The harvested tenotomy sites in all treatment groups were characterized by marked fibroplasia and presence of macrophages. Remnants of SIS surrounded by macrophages and multi-nucleated giant cells were still present in some rats, however remnants of RCM were not observed, suggesting more rapid incorporation of RCM. The results show that RCM is equivalent to SIS as a material for repair of Achilles tendon injury and merits further study in other tendon injury models.
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