Ligament repair: A molecular and immunohistological characterization

L. Roseti, R. Buda, C. Cavallo, G. Desando, A. Facchini, B. Grigolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most commonly injured tissue of the human knee. Its poor ability to regenerate after injury represents a challenge to ligament tissue engineering. An understanding of the molecular composition of the structures used for its repair is essential for clinical assessments and for the implementation of tissue engineering strategies. The objective of this study was to evaluate, both at gene and protein levels, the expression of characteristic molecules in human ACL, patellar, semitendinosus and gracilis tendons and in the ligament reconstructed with patellar or semitendinosus and gracilis tendons. We demonstrated that primary ACL and tendon tissues all express collagen I, II, Sox-9, tenascin-C and aggrecan. Collagen X expression was detected at very low levels or undetectable. Cathepsin B, MMP-1 and MMP-13 were expressed at higher levels in the ACL reconstructed by the two tendons, showing that a remodeling process occurs during " ligamentization". Both our molecular and immunohistochemical evaluations did not reveal significative differences between the tendons and ligaments analyzed. However, ACL reconstructed with semitendinosus and gracilis tendon seems to present a higher expression of collagen type II when compared to that reconstructed with patellar tendon. This study could give a reasonable identification of genetic and protein markers specific to tendon/ligament tissues and be helpful in testing tissue engineering approaches for ACL reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Gene expression
  • Patellar tendon
  • Semitendinosus and gracilis tendon
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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