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Growth Factors. 2001;19(2):115-26.

A growth and differentiation factor-5 (GDF-5)-coated suture stimulates tendon healing in an Achilles tendon model in rats.

By: Rickert M, Jung M, Adiyaman M, Richter W, Simank HG.

Growth and differentiation factor-5 (GDF-5) is essential for normal skeletal development and induces tendon-and ligament-like structures at ectopic sites. Therefore, we investigated the influence of a GDF-5-coated suture on the healing Achilles tendon in rats. The right Achilles tendon in 80 rats was transected and sutured with an absorbable polyglactin suture. Animals were randomized to an uncoated-suture control and a GDF-5-coated suture group. At 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks after surgery the repair tissue was evaluated biomechanically and histologically. Biomechanical testing revealed significantly thicker tendons, which were stiffer at 1, 2, and 4 weeks, in the experimental group than in the control group. The maximum tensile strength was significantly increased at 2 weeks after surgery. Histologically we found cartilage-like cell nests 4 weeks after tendon repair, which were positive for type II collagen. In conclusion, local growth factor delivery by a coated suture material showed a promising beneficial effect on tendon repair. The appearance of cartilage-like structures may demonstrate the chondroinductive capacity of GDF-5, which in these circumstances, however, might be overcome by modifications of the GDF-5 dose and/or the suture material.

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