We have developed a model of human phalanges and small joints that can be formed in a tissue engineering manner by suturing three different cell-polymer constructs. The polymer scaffolds supported growth of osteoblasts, chondrocytes, or tenocytes after the models were implanted in athymic nude mice. The constructs in vivo developed through vascularization, formed new bone, cartilage, and tendon with characteristic gene expression and protein synthesis, and maintained the shape of human phalanges with joints. As additional studies proceed, this approach will clinically become important.
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