Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of 2 new photoactive naphthalimide compounds to repair a lesion in the avascular zone of the meniscus.
Type of study: In vivo animal study.
Methods: Ten Barbados sheep were used as the animal model. Under anesthesia, the left knee joint was opened and 2 identical lesions were produced in the avascular zone of the medial meniscus. The posterior horn lesion was left alone and used as the control and the lesion in the anterior horn was repaired using the photoactive laser technique. The photoactive laser technique involved placing small amounts of a naphthalimide compound into the lesion and then irradiating the site with a laser (457 nm and 1.8 W/cm2) for 6 minutes. Two different versions of the naphthalimide compound were produced and divided between the 10 animals. The joint was then flushed with normal saline and closed in layers with resorbable sutures. Four animals were euthanized at the end of 1 month and 6 animals were euthanized at the end of 3 months. After death, the medial meniscus was exposed, dissected free, and then placed in 10% buffered formalin for histologic preparation and staining.
Results: At 1 month, the control lesions grossly showed no repair and the photochemically repaired lesions appeared to be bonded. The photochemically repaired lesions showed some bridging by an eosinophilic amorphous-appearing substance. The previous cleft within the fibrocartilaginous structure had disappeared, and early formation of connective tissue fibers was identified. However, some reduction in cellularity was seen in these tissue sections. At 3 months, again the control lesions did not show any repair response, while the photochemically repaired lesions showed results similar to the animals at 1 month, but with a less consistent pattern of tissue bonding and remodeling. The reduced tissue cellularity was still noted. There was no discernible difference between the naphthalimide compounds.
Conclusions: These preliminary results demonstrate the potential usefulness of this photochemical bonding for the treatment of avascular meniscal lesions. Additional research will be necessary to fully understand the mechanism of this repair and optimize its use before any human trials.
Clinical relevance: This is a preliminary animal study investigating the short-term in vivo effects of a novel photochemical compound for the repair of meniscal lesions. This repair may someday be valuable in the repair of avascular meniscal lesions.