PDGF-BB released in tendon repair using a novel delivery system promotes cell proliferation and collagen remodeling

Stavros Thomopoulos, Melissa Zaegel, Rosalina Das, Fredrick L. Harwood, Matthew J. Silva, David Amiel, Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, Richard H. Gelberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to promote fibroblast proliferation and collagen remodeling in flexor tendon repair through sustained delivery of platelet derived growth factor (PDGF-BB). The release kinetics of PDGF-BB from a novel fibrin matrix delivery system was initially evaluated in vitro. After the in vivo degradation rate of the fibrin matrix was determined using fluorescently tagged fibrin, PDGF-BB was delivered to the site of flexor tendon repair in vivo in a canine model. The effect of PDGF-BB on intrasynovial tendon healing was studied using histology-based assays (cell density, proliferation, and type I collagen expression) and by measuring total DNA levels and reducible collagen crosslink levels. The fibrin matrix delivery system provided sustained release of PDGF-BB in vitro at a rate modulated by the ratio of heparin to growth factor. In vivo, the fibrin matrix remained at the repair site for more than 10 days. Delivery of PDGF-BB led to a qualitative increase in cell density, cell proliferation, and type I collagen mRNA expression. PDGF-BB also led to statistically significant increases in total DNA (20% increase at 7 days, 18% increase at 14 days) and reducible collagen crosslinks (30% increase at 7 days). Sustained delivery of growth factors may be achieved using a novel fibrin-based delivery system. PDGF-BB delivery increased cell proliferation and matrix remodeling and thus may accelerate flexor tendon healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1368
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Delivery system
  • Flexor tendon
  • Growth factor
  • Sustained delivery
  • Tendon healing


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