Properties of Biologic Scaffolds and Their Response to Mesenchymal Stem Cells


      The purpose of this study was to examine, in vitro, the cellular response of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to sample types of commercially available scaffolds in comparison with control, native tendon tissue (fresh-frozen rotator cuff tendon allograft).


      MSCs were defined by (1) colony-forming potential; (2) ability to differentiate into tendon, cartilage, bone, and fat tissue; and (3) fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis (CD73, CD90, CD45). Samples were taken from fresh-frozen human rotator cuff tendon (allograft), human highly cross-linked collagen membrane (Arthroflex; LifeNet Health, Virginia Beach, VA), porcine non–cross-linked collagen membrane (Mucograft; Geistlich Pharma, Lucerne, Switzerland), a human platelet-rich fibrin matrix (PRF-M), and a fibrin matrix based on platelet-rich plasma (ViscoGel; Arthrex, Naples, FL). Cells were counted for adhesion (24 hours), thymidine assay for cell proliferation (96 hours), and live/dead stain for viability (168 hours). Histologic analysis was performed after 21 days, and the unloaded scaffolds were scanned with electron microscopy.


      MSCs were successfully differentiated into all cell lines. A significantly greater number of cells adhered to both the non–cross-linked porcine collagen scaffold and PRF-M. Cell activity (proliferation) was significantly higher in the non–cross-linked porcine collagen scaffold compared with PRF-M and fibrin matrix based on platelet-rich plasma. There were no significant differences found in the results of the live/dead assay.


      Significant differences in the response of human MSCs to biologic scaffolds existed. MSC adhesion, proliferation, and scaffold morphology evaluated by histologic analysis and electron microscopy varied throughout the evaluated types of scaffolds. Non–cross-linked porcine collagen scaffolds showed superior results for cell adhesion and proliferation, as well as on histologic evaluation.

      Clinical Relevance

      This study enables the clinician and scientist to choose scaffold materials according to their specific interaction with MSCs.
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      Linked Article

      • Letter to the Editor Regarding Our Article “Properties of Biologic Scaffolds and Their Response to Mesenchymal Stem Cells”
        ArthroscopyVol. 30Issue 9
        • Preview
          We are writing in regard to our article “Properties of Biologic Scaffolds and Their Response to Mesenchymal Stem Cells” published in the March 2014 issue of Arthroscopy.1 Throughout the article, we refer to the 2 collagen scaffolds tested as being “highly and non–cross-linked.” These terms were meant to describe the histologic structure of the scaffold; they were not meant to indicate anything else, such as the chemical processes by which some biologic scaffolds are manufactured.2 In our study the porcine collagen scaffold has a loose fibrous infrastructure compared with the human dermal scaffold that is more tightly packed.
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