Cell-laden composite suture threads for repairing damaged tendons

Raquel Costa-Almeida, Rui M.A. Domingues, Afsoon Fallahi, Huseyin Avci, Iman K. Yazdi, Mohsen Akbari, Rui L. Reis, Ali Tamayol, Manuela E. Gomes, Ali Khademhosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Tendons have limited regenerative capacity due to their low cellularity and hypovascular nature, which results in poor clinical outcomes of presently used therapies. As tendon injuries are often observed in active adults, it poses an increasing socio-economic burden on healthcare systems. Currently, suture threads are used during surgical repair to anchor the tissue graft or to connect injured ends. Here, we created composite suture threads coated with a layer of cell-laden hydrogel that can be used for bridging the injured tissue aiming at tendon regeneration. In addition, the fibres can be used to engineer 3-dimensional constructs through textile processes mimicking the architecture and mechanical properties of soft tissues, including tendons and ligaments. Encapsulated human tendon-derived cells migrated within the hydrogel and aligned at the surface of the core thread. An up-regulation of tendon-related genes (scleraxis and tenascin C) and genes involved in matrix remodelling (matrix metalloproteinases 1, matrix metalloproteinases 2) was observed. Cells were able to produce a collagen-rich matrix, remodelling their micro-environment, which is structurally comparable to native tendon tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1048
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • biotextiles
  • braiding
  • cell-laden fibres
  • composite sutures
  • tendon tissue engineering
  • tissue regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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