Rotator cuff repair augmentation with local autogenous bone marrow via humeral cannulation in a rat model

David M. Levy, Comron Saifi, Jennifer L. Perri, Renwen Zhang, Thomas R. Gardner, Christopher S. Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Growth factors have been shown to improve healing after rotator cuff repair. Bone marrow is a potential vehicle for growth factor augmentation, yet methods of delivering marrow to cuff repair sites are still under-researched. We hypothesized that a cannulated humeral implant would deliver local bone marrow and thereby improve healing in a rat model. Methods: Twenty-eight rats underwent bilateral rotator cuff injury and repair. Each rat acted as its own control, randomized to a cannulated humeral implant in one shoulder and a solid implant in the other. Rats were euthanized at 4 and 8 weeks to create 4 time-treatment cohorts. Tendon healing was evaluated by dimensional measurements, biomechanical testing, and histology. Results: Tendon thickness, all biomechanical measures, and semi-quantitative histologic scores improved over time (P<.05) but not with treatment. The most common site of biomechanical tendon failure was midsubstance in the 8-week cannulated cohort and at the tendon footprint in the other 3 cohorts. Intraluminal bone growth was evident in all cannulated implants. Conclusions: Humeral cannulation did not quantifiably improve tendon-to-bone healing in a rat model. The diminutive size of implants in rats, however, may have prevented sufficient delivery of local autogenous bone marrow; hence, further study in a larger animal is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1256-1264
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Basic Science Study
  • Bone marrow
  • Cannulation
  • Enthesis
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Rat
  • Repair
  • Rotator cuff
  • Shoulder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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