Tendon inserts into bone via a fibrocartilaginous interface (enthesis) that reduces mechanical strain and tissue failure. Despite this toughening mechanism, tears occur because of acute (overload) or degradative (aging) processes. Surgically fixating torn tendon into bone results in the formation of a scar tissue interface with inferior biomechanical properties. Progress toward enthesis regeneration requires biomaterial approaches to protect cells from high levels of interfacial strain. We report an innovative tissue reinforcement strategy: a stratified scaffold containing osseous and tendinous tissue compartments attached through a continuous polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogel interface. Tuning the gelation kinetics of the hydrogel modulates integration with the flanking compartments and yields biomechanical performance advantages. Notably, the hydrogel interface reduces formation of strain concentrations between tissue compartments in conventional stratified biomaterials that can have deleterious biological effects. This design of mechanically robust stratified composite biomaterials may be appropriate for a broad range of tendon and ligament-to-bone insertions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas