Improved surgical mesh integration into the rat abdominal wall with arginine administration

Biomaterials. 2006 Feb;27(5):758-68. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2005.06.027. Epub 2005 Aug 10.


Prosthetic meshes are used as the standard of care in abdominal wall hernia repair. However, hernia recurrences and side effects remain unsolved problems. The demand by health care providers for increasingly efficient and cost-effective surgery encourages the development of newer strategies to improve devices and outcomes. Here, we evaluated whether l-arginine administration was able to ameliorate long-term polypropylene prostheses incorporation into the abdominal wall of Sprague-Dawley rats. Meshes were placed on-lay and continuous l-arginine was administered. In vivo biocompatibility was studied at 7, 25 and 30 days post-implantation. Effectively, l-arginine administration in combination with mesh triggered subtle changes in ECM composition that impinged on critical biochemical and structural features. Lastly, tensile strength augmented and stiffness decreased over the control condition. This could help to restructure the mechanical load transfer from the implant to the brittle surrounding tissues, i.e., impact load and fatigue load associated with mechanical tensions could be distributed between the mesh and the restored tissue in a more balanced manner, and ultimately help to reduce the incidence of loosening, recurrences, and local wound complications. Since the newly formed tissue is more mechanically stable, this approach could eventually be introduced to human hernia repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / blood supply
  • Abdominal Wall / surgery*
  • Animals
  • Arginine / metabolism
  • Arginine / pharmacokinetics
  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Surgical Mesh*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Arginine