Effect of a novel sterilization method on biomechanical properties of soft tissue allografts
BACKGROUND Research and clinical applications have demonstrated that the effects of tendon allografts are comparable to those of autografts when reconstructing injured tendons or ligaments, but allograft safety remains problematic. Sterilisation could eliminate or decrease the possibility of disease transmission, but current methods seldom achieve satisfactory sterilisation without affecting the mechanical properties of the tendon. HYPOTHESIS Peracetic acid-ethanol in combination with low-dose gamma irradiation (PE-R) would inactivate potential deleterious microorganisms without affecting mechanical and biocompatible properties of tendon allograft. STUDY DESIGN Controlled laboratory design. METHODS HIV, PPV, PRV and BVDV inactivation was evaluated. After verifying viral inactivation, the treated tendon allografts were characterised by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and tensile testing, and the cytocompatibility was assessed with an MTT assay and by subcutaneous implantation. RESULTS Effective and efficient inactivation of HIV, PPV, PRV and BVDV was observed. Histological structure and ultrastructure were unchanged in the treated tendon allograft, which also exhibited comparable biomechanical properties and good biocompatibility. CONCLUSION The preliminary results confirmed our hypothesis and demonstrated that the PE-R tendon allograft has significant potential as an alternative to ligament/tendon reconstruction. CLINICAL RELEVANCE Tendon allografts have been extensively used in ligament reconstruction and tendon repair. However, current sterilisation methods have various shortcomings, so PE-R has been proposed. This study suggests that PE-R tendon allograft has great potential as an alternative for ligament/tendon reconstruction. WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THIS SUBJECT Sterilisation has been a great concern for tendon allografts. However, most sterilisation methods cannot inactivate viruses and bacteria without impairing the mechanical properties of the tendon allograft. WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE Peracetic acid/ethanol with gamma irradiation can effectively inactivate viruses and bacteria. Meanwhile, tendon allografts sterilised by this method maintain their physiological tendon structure, biomechanical integrity and good compatibility.