Tendons and ligaments are among the most frequently injured organs in the young and active population. These injuries are associated with poor healing and incomplete recovery. The Tissue Repair Lab focuses on regeneration of ligament/tendon using various tissue engineering approaches like designing optimal biopolymer scaffolds, investigating cell delivery systems and building advanced bioreactors for mechanical stimulation of the growing tissues.
Fibrous scaffolds are needed to engineer dense fibrous tissues like tendons and ligaments. We have shown that knitted scaffolds from biodegradable polymers like PLGA and natural biopolymers like silk are good candidates, due to their mechanical properties and porosity. Such scaffolds seeded with bone marrow cells using fibrin gel have successfully repaired injured tendons in a rabbit model.
“Nano-microscaffolds” were fabricated by electrospinning nanofibres on microfibrous knitted scaffolds, combining the advantages of good mechanical strength of the microfibers and very high surface area and porosity of the nanofibers. Moreover, such scaffolds could be easily seeded by pipetting cell-suspensions (thus eliminating the need of fibrin gel as cell-delivery system) and bone marrow precursor cells could proliferate well and differentiate into tendon and ligament lineages.
Fibroblasts and bone marrow cells have been grown into 3-D cell-sheets and assembled with knitted scaffolds to engineer connective tissues, possessing favorable ECM production, histological and mechanical properties.
Interfacial Tissue Engineering
"Enthesis" or the bone-ligament interface would be engineered through a biomimetic approach following the same steps in vitro as occuring during the development of the enthesis organ in vivo to construct a bone-fibrocartilage-ligament graft. Such a hybrid graft promises to aid in severe ligament injuries through its regeneration as well as providing adequate insertional strength.
Cyclic mechanical stimulation has been shown to induce in vitro differentiation of precursor cells into tendons and ligaments. Cell-seeded scaffolds strained in the bioreactors show better cell proliferation with cells assuming an elongated morphology resembling tenocytes, and expressing tendon/ligament specific extracellular matrix. Several prototypes including standalone bioreactors and perfusion bioreactors have been developed for various tissue engineering applications.
Equipped with the state-of-the-art facilites for fabricating polymer scaffolds, clean room facility for tissue culture, immuno-histochemistry and molecular biology techniques.
- Scaffold fabrication facility
- BSL-2 Cell culture facility and Bioreactors
- Facilities for Immunohistochemistry & cell and molecular biology