The ability to study the gross morphological changes occurring during tissue formation is vital to producing tissue-engineered structures of clinically relevant dimensions in vitro. Here, we have used nondestructive methods of digital imaging and optical coherence tomography to monitor the early-stage formation and subsequent maturation of fibrin-based tissue-engineered ligament constructs. In addition, the effect of supplementation with essential promoters of collagen synthesis, ascorbic acid (AA) and proline (P), has been assessed. Contraction of the cell-seeded fibrin gel occurs unevenly within the first 5 days of culture around two fixed anchor points before forming a longitudinal ligament-like construct. AA+P supplementation accelerates gel contraction in the maturation phase of development, producing ligament-like constructs with a higher collagen content and distinct morphology to that of unsupplemented constructs. These studies highlight the importance of being able to control the methods of tissue formation and maturation in vitro to enable the production of tissue-engineered constructs with suitable replacement tissue characteristics for repair of clinical soft-tissue injuries.
- OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY
- DONOR-SITE MORBIDITY