Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Polymer and Fiber Science

Advisor

Brown, Philip J.

Committee Member

Webb , Charles K.

Committee Member

Ellison , Michael S.

Committee Member

Hudson , JoAn

Abstract

Ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are the most frequent of injuries to the knee due to its role in preventing anterior translation of the tibia. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 Americans per year will suffer from a ruptured ACL, resulting in management costs on the order of 5 billion dollars. Without treatment these patients are unable to return to normal activity, as a consequence of the joint instability found within the ACL deficient knee.
Over the last thirty years, a variety of non-degradable, synthetic fibers have been evaluated for their use in ACL reconstruction; however, a widely accepted prosthesis has been unattainable due to differences in mechanical properties of the synthetic graft relative to the native tissue. Tissue engineering is an interdisciplinary field charged with the task of developing therapeutic solutions for tissue and organ failure by enhancing the natural wound healing process through the use of cellular transplants, biomaterials, and the delivery of bioactive molecules. The capillary channel polymer (CC-P) fibers used in this research were fabricated by melt extrusion from polyethylene terephthalate and polybutylene terephthalate. These fibers possess aligned micrometer scale surface channels that may serve as physical templates for tissue growth and regeneration. This inherent surface topography offers a unique and industrially viable approach for cellular contact guidance on three dimensional constructs.
In this fundamental research the ability of these fiber channels to support the adhesion, alignment, and organization of fibroblasts was demonstrated and found to be superior to round fiber controls. The results demonstrated greater uniformity of seeding and accelerated formation of multi-layered three-dimensional biomass for the CC-P fibers relative to those with a circular cross-section. Furthermore, the CC-P geometry induced nuclear elongation consistent with that observed in native ACL tissue.
Through the application of uniaxial cyclic strain the mechanical properties of the cell seeded CC-P fiber scaffold systems were shown to improve via the induction of increased cellular proliferation and extracellular matrix synthesis. Finally, unlike many studies examining the effects of cyclic strain on cellular behavior, the CC-P fiber geometry displayed the ability to maintain cellular alignment in the presence of an applied uniaxial cyclic strain.

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