A multi-chamber tissue culture device for load-dependent parallel evaluation of tendon explants

Endre Soreide, Janet M. Denbeigh, Eric A. Lewallen, Roman Thaler, Rebekah M. Samsonraj, Dakota L. Jones, Wei Xu, Dirk Larson, Lars Nordsletten, Sanjeev Kakar, Andre J. Van Wijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Injuries in the musculoskeletal system, such as tendon and ligament ruptures, are challenging to manage and often require surgical reconstructions with limited long-term success. Thus, characterizations of these tissues are urgently needed to better understand cellular mechanisms that regulate tissue homeostasis and healing. Explant culturing systems allow for ex vivo analysis of tissues in an environment that mimics the native microenvironment in vivo. Methods: Collaborative efforts within our institution facilitated the establishment of a novel explant culturing system. Tissue specimens cultured in single wells, with individual applied loading and/or biological environment, allowed characterization of tissue cultured under a variety of biological loading conditions. Quantitative PCR analysis for selected gene markers was our primary outcome. Results: Data were stratified for analysis by either culture environment or loading condition. Our gene expression results show that specimens clustered by culture condition may differ in molecular markers related to ECM production (e.g., Col1a1, Adamts4) and/or organization (e.g., Tnc, Dnc). In contrast, loading condition did significantly alter the median gene expression levels of tissues in comparison to unloaded control samples, although gene expression values related to ECM degradation (e.g., Mmp1, Mmp10) were altered in tendons cultured under tension in the device. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates promising utility of a novel explant culturing system for further characterization of musculoskeletal tissues such as native tendons and ligaments, as well as pathologic fibrotic tissues resulting from arthrofibrosis or Dupuytren's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number549
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 18 2019


  • Ex vivo
  • Explant culture
  • Ligament
  • Musculoskeletal tissue
  • Tendon
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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