Effect of chemical treatments on tendon cellularity and mechanical properties

Jeffrey S. Cartmell, Michael G. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Removal of cells may decrease the antigenicity and risk of disease transmission associated with tendon allografts and xenografts. An ideal cell removal method would not compromise graft structure and mechanical properties. This study compared the effects of three extraction chemicals [t- octyl-phenoxypolyethoxyethanol (Triton X-100), tri(n-butyl)phosphate (TnBP), and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)] on tendon cellularity, structure, nativity, and mechanical properties. Rat tail tendons were soaked in extraction solutions for various time periods (12-48 h) and concentrations (0.5-2%), then they were rinsed with distilled water and ethyl alcohol. Histological analysis and tensile tests were performed on control and chemically treated tendons. Changes in collagen nativity were estimated by mechanical testing following incubation in a trypsin solution. Treatment of tendons with 1% Triton X-100 for 24 h disrupted the collagen fiber structure and did not remove cells. Treatment with 1% SDS for 24 h or 1% TnBP for 48 h resulted in an acellular tendon matrix with retention of near normal structure and mechanical properties. Consistent with previous studies demonstrating cell removal from other tissue types using SDS and TnBP, our preliminary results suggest these treatments are potentially useful for removing cells from tendon allografts or xenografts without compromising the graft structure or mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • Allograft
  • Cell removal
  • Collagen
  • Tendon
  • Xenograft

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