Enhancement of rotator cuff tendon-bone healing with injectable periosteum progenitor cells-BMP-2 hydrogel in vivo

Chih Hwa Chen, Chih Hsiang Chang, Kun Chung Wang, Chun I. Su, Hsien Tao Liu, Chung Ming Yu, Chak Bor Wong, I. Chun Wang, Shu Wen Whu, Hsia Wei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The fixation and incorporation of ruptured rotator cuff tendon to bone is a major concern in rotator cuff repair surgery. Rotator cuff repair usually fails at the tendon-bone interface, especially in case of large or massive tears. To enhance tendon-bone healing, an injectable hydrogel made with periosteal progenitor cells(PPCs) and poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) tethered with bone morphogenic protein-2(BMP-2) was developed to encourage extracellular matrix synthesis for tendon-to-bone healing in rotator cuff repair. Methods: The infraspinatus tendon was cut from the greater tuberosity and repaired through a transosseous tunnel with the injectable progenitor cell-BMP-2 hydrogel applied between the tendon-bone interface. The injectable hydrogel was prepared from 10% poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) containing 0. 05% of the photoinitiator. BMP-2 tethered with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) was blended to the hydrogel. Rabbit periosteal progenitor cells (PPCs) isolated from periosteum were mixed with hydrogel and injected on the tendon-bone interface. Ultraviolet radiation (365 nm) was applied for 60 s to photopolymerize the injection and solidify the hydrogel. The rabbits were killed at 4 and 8 weeks. The morphological characteristics of the healing tendon-to-bone interface were evaluated by histological and immunohistochemical methods. The biomechanical test was done to determine healing attachment strength. Results: At both the 4- and 8-week killing, histological analysis of the tendon-bone interface showed an increasing fibrocartilage and bone layer formed in the tendon-bone interface in PEGDA group. At 4 weeks, fibrocartilage-like tissue was observed in a focal area. At 8 weeks, further matrix deposition occurred with fibrocartilage formation in the tendon-bone junction, and bone formation appeared near host bone. Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of aggrecan and type II collagen. Biomechanical testing revealed a higher maximum pull-out load at all time points with a statistically significant difference at 4 and 8 weeks postoperatively. Conclusion: PEGDA hydrogel was approved as an adequate matrix for the encapsulation of cells and signal factor, and as an effective local delivery method to the tendon-bone interface through injection and photopolymerization. The PPCs-BMP2-hydrogel provides a powerful inductive ability between the tendon and the bone and enhances tendon-bone healing through the neoformation of fibrocartilage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1597-1607
Number of pages11
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone morphogenetic protein-2
  • Hydrogel
  • Periosteal progenitor cells
  • Photoencapsulation
  • Poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Tendon-bone healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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