Recent growth factor, cell, and scaffold-based experimental interventions for intrasynovial flexor tendon repair have demonstrated therapeutic potential in rodent models. However, these approaches have not achieved consistent functional improvements in large animal trials due to deleterious inflammatory reactions to delivery materials and insufficient induction of targeted biological healing responses. In this study, we achieved porous suture-based sustained delivery of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) into flexor tendons in a clinically relevant canine model. Repairs with CTGF-laden sutures were mechanically competent and did not show any evidence of adhesions or other negative inflammatory reactions based on histology, gene expression, or proteomics analyses at 14 days following repair. CTGF-laden sutures induced local cellular infiltration and a significant biological response immediately adjacent to the suture, including histological signs of angiogenesis and collagen deposition. There were no evident widespread biological effects throughout the tendon substance. There were significant differences in gene expression of the macrophage marker CD163 and anti-apoptotic factor BCL2L1; however, these differences were not corroborated by proteomics analysis. In summary, this study provided encouraging evidence of sustained delivery of biologically active CTGF from porous sutures without signs of a negative inflammatory reaction. With the development of a safe and effective method for generating a positive local biological response, future studies can explore additional methods for enhancing intrasynovial tendon repair.
- connective tissue growth factor
- drug delivery
- flexor tendon
- porous suture