Journal of biomedical materials research. Part B, Applied biomaterials

Equine model for soft-tissue regeneration.

PMID 25350377


Soft-tissue regeneration methods currently yield suboptimal clinical outcomes due to loss of tissue volume and a lack of functional tissue regeneration. Grafted tissues and natural biomaterials often degrade or resorb too quickly, while most synthetic materials do not degrade. In previous research we demonstrated that soft-tissue regeneration can be supported using silk porous biomaterials for at least 18 months in vivo in a rodent model. In the present study, we scaled the system to a survival study using a large animal model and demonstrated the feasibility of these biomaterials for soft-tissue regeneration in adult horses. Both slow and rapidly degrading silk matrices were evaluated in subcutaneous pocket and intramuscular defect depots. We showed that we can effectively employ an equine model over 6 months to simultaneously evaluate many different implants, reducing the number of animals needed. Furthermore, we were able to tailor matrix degradation by varying the initial format of the implanted silk. Finally, we demonstrate ultrasound imaging of implants to be an effective means for tracking tissue regeneration and implant degradation.