Purpose: A bioactive fibrin-based delivery system was used to provide sustained administration of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB) in a clinically relevant model of intrasynovial flexor tendon repair. We hypothesized that PDGF-BB administered in this manner would improve the sutured tendon's functional and structural properties 3 weeks after repair. Methods: A delivery system consisting of 30 μL of fibrin matrix, peptide, heparin, and 100 ng of PDGF-BB was incorporated into the repair sites of randomly selected medial or lateral forepaw flexor digitorum profundus tendons of 8 adult mongrel dogs. The remaining forepaw flexor digitorum profundus tendons were repaired without the growth-factor and fibrin-based delivery system and served as controls. The surgically treated forelimbs were treated with controlled passive motion rehabilitation. The animals were killed at 3 weeks, at which time the tendons were tested for range of motion with a motion analysis system and for tensile properties with a materials testing machine. Results: Proximal interphalangeal joint and distal interphalangeal joint rotation values were significantly higher for the PDGF-BB-treated tendons compared with the repair-alone tendons. Excursion values were also significantly higher in the PDGF-BB-treated tendons. There were no significant differences in tensile properties when comparing PDGF-BB-treated with repair-alone tendons. Conclusions: The functional properties of repaired intrasynovial flexor tendons were significantly improved with the sustained administration of PDGF-BB. The failure to achieve improvements in ultimate load, stiffness, and strain in the experimental group may have been due to suboptimal PDGF-BB dosage or suboptimal release kinetics.
- Flexor tendon repair
- platelet derived growth factor
- sustained delivery