Adhesion and collagen production of human tenocytes seeded on degradable poly(urethane urea)

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2013 Aug;21(8):1834-40. doi: 10.1007/s00167-012-2249-2. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate whether human tenocytes taken from ruptured quadriceps tendon could be seeded on a biodegradable polycaprolactone-based polyurethanes (PU) urea scaffold. Scaffold colonization and collagen production after different culture periods were analyzed to understand whether tenocytes from ruptured tendons are able to colonize these biodegradable scaffolds.

Methods: Human primary tenocyte cultures of ruptured quadriceps tendons were seeded on PU scaffolds. After 3, 10 and 15 days of incubation, the samples were stained with haematoxylin and eosin and were examined under white light microscopy. After 15 and 30 days of incubation, samples were examined under transmission electron microscope. Total collagen accumulation was also evaluated after 15, 30 and 45 days of culture.

Results: After 15 and 30 days of culture, tenocyte-seeded scaffolds showed cell colonization and cell accumulation around interconnecting micropores. Tenocyte phenotype was variable. Collagen accumulation in seeded scaffolds demonstrated a progressive increase after 15, 30 and 45 days of culture, while control non-seeded scaffolds show no collagen accumulation.

Conclusion: These results showed that human tenocytes from ruptured quadriceps tendon can be seeded on polycaprolactone-based PU urea scaffolds and cultured for a long time period (45 days). This study also showed that human tenocytes from ruptured tendons seeded on PU scaffolds are able to penetrate the scaffold showing a progressively higher collagen accumulation after 15, 30 and 45 days of incubation. This study provides the basis to use this PU biodegradable scaffold in vivo as an augmentation for chronic tendon ruptures and in vitro as a scaffold for tissue engineering construct.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Adhesion*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Polyesters
  • Polyurethanes
  • Tendon Injuries
  • Tendons / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tissue Scaffolds*


  • Polyesters
  • Polyurethanes
  • polycaprolactone
  • Collagen