Nav: Home

Scaffold helps cells repair torn meniscus in lab tests

June 19, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - About a million times a year, Americans with a torn meniscus in their knee undergo surgery in hopes of a repair. Certain tears can't be fixed or won't heal well, and many patients later suffer osteoarthritis from the injury.

Scientists have tried developing scaffolds or structures from various materials, including plastic and textile fibers, to lay a foundation for new cells. In a paper published June 18 in the journal Scientific Reports, Duke scientists describe a more organic model -- a scaffold derived from a pig's meniscus, which performed better in lab tests than healing without a scaffold.

"A partial meniscus removal is one of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries in the U.S.," said Amy McNulty, Ph.D., an assistant professor in orthopedic surgery at Duke and senior author of the paper.

"The damaged tissue must be cut out because it's causing pain or catching, but when the tissue comes out it also alters load-bearing in the knee and often leads to osteoarthritis, so it would be beneficial to try and heal the meniscus in place using a tool like a scaffold," McNulty said.

In lab tests, repairs aided by the scaffold resulted in a stronger meniscus repair after four weeks compared to a meniscus that went through the natural healing process.

A scaffold could be especially valuable when the meniscus tears near the inside of the crescent-shaped tissue where blood doesn't flow. Without a blood supply, a tear in this section won't mend and the tissue is often removed, McNulty said.

The pig-derived scaffold is advantageous over other models including synthetics, because it is processed without chemicals or enzymes, which helps it retain more natural properties, McNulty said. Also, the structure is more porous than other models and even regular meniscus tissue, which allows new cells to move into it more easily to integrate with damaged tissue.

"Cells from the native tissue appear to be naturally attracted to the scaffold -- they want to move into it," McNulty said. "Hopefully, this will lead one day to a scaffold being placed into different tears to augment healing and seamlessly integrate the pieces of damaged tissue."

The next step is testing the scaffold in animal models and eventually in humans, she said.
-end-
In addition to McNulty, study authors include Jacob C. Ruprecht, Taylor D. Waanders, Christopher R. Rowland, James F. Nishimuta, Katherine A. Glass, Jennifer Stencel, Louis E. DeFrate, Farshid Guilak and J. Brice Weinberg.The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants AG028716, AR048852, AG015768, AR073752, AG046927, AR073221, AR074800, and AR065527), the Arthritis Foundation, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research Service Merit Review Award, the Lord Foundation in support of the Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility Undergraduate User Program and an Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation grant with funding provided by the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation.

Duke University Medical Center

Related Osteoarthritis Articles:

Cross-species links identified for osteoarthritis
New research from the University of Liverpool, published today in the journal NPJ Systems Biology and Applications, has identified 'cell messages' that could help identify the early stages of osteoarthritis.
Findings do not support steroid injections for knee osteoarthritis
Among patients with knee osteoarthritis, an injection of a corticosteroid every three months over two years resulted in significantly greater cartilage volume loss and no significant difference in knee pain compared to patients who received a placebo injection, according to a study published by JAMA.
Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise
Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.
Hand osteoarthritis is a common condition
A new study estimates that the lifetime risk of symptomatic hand osteoarthritis is 40 percent, and nearly one in two women and one in four men will develop the condition, which affects hand strength and function and causes disability in activities of daily living.
Noisy knees may be an early sign of knee osteoarthritis
A new study using data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multi-center observational study of nearly 3500 participants, indicates that people who hear grating, cracking, or popping sounds in or around their knee joint may be at increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.
More Osteoarthritis News and Osteoarthritis Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.