The influence of cyclic tensile strain on multi-compartment collagen-GAG scaffolds for tendon-bone junction repair

William K. Grier, Raul A. Sun Han Chang, Matthew D. Ramsey, Brendan A.C. Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Orthopedic injuries often occur at the interface between soft tissues and bone. The tendon-bone junction (TBJ) is a classic example of such an interface. Current clinical strategies for TBJ injuries prioritize mechanical reattachment over regeneration of the native interface, resulting in poor outcomes. The need to promote regenerative healing of spatially-graded tissues inspires our effort to develop new tissue engineering technologies that replicate features of the spatially-graded extracellular matrix and strain profiles across the native TBJ. Materials and Methods: We recently described a biphasic collagen-glycosaminoglycan (CG) scaffold containing distinct compartment with divergent mineral content and structural alignment (isotropic vs. anisotropic) linked by a continuous interface zone to mimic structural and compositional features of the native TBJ. Results: Here, we report application of cyclic tensile strain (CTS) to the scaffold via a bioreactor leads to non-uniform strain profiles across the spatially-graded scaffold. Further, combinations of CTS and matrix structural features promote rapid, spatially-distinct differentiation profiles of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) down multiple osteotendinous lineages. CTS preferentially upregulates MSC activity and tenogenic differentiation in the anisotropic region of the scaffold. This work demonstrates a tissue engineering approach that couples instructive biomaterials with cyclic tensile stimuli to promote regenerative healing of orthopedic interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-543
Number of pages14
JournalConnective Tissue Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019


  • Collagen scaffold
  • bioreactor
  • cyclic tensile strain
  • mechanotransduction
  • tendon-bone junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biochemistry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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