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Hussain, Timon; Gellrich, Donata; Siemer, Svenja; Reichel, Christoph A.; Eckrich, Jonas; Dietrich, Dimo; Knauer, Shirley K.; Stauber, Roland H. and Strieth, Sebastian (2021): TNF-alpha-Inhibition Improves the Biocompatibility of Porous Polyethylene Implants In Vivo. In: Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 2: pp. 297-303

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Background: To improve the biocompatibility of porous polyethylene (PPE) implants and expand their application range for reconstructive surgery in poorly vascularized environments, implants were coated with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) inhibitor Etanercept. While approved for systemic application, local application of the drug is a novel experimental approach. Microvascular and mechanical integration as well as parameters of inflammation were analyzed in vivo. Methods: PPE implants were coated with Etanercept and extracellular matrix (ECM) components prior to implantation into dorsal skinfold chambers of C57BL/6 mice. Fluorescence microscopy analyses of angiogenesis and local inflammatory response were thrice performed in vivo over a period of 14 days to assess tissue integration and biocompatibility. Uncoated implants and ECM-coated implants served as controls. Results: TNF alpha inhibition with Etanercept led to a reduced local inflammatory response: leukocyte-endothelial cell adherence was significantly lowered compared to both control groups (n = 6/group) on days 3 and 14, where the lowest values were reached: 3573.88 leukocytes/mm-2 +/- 880.16 (uncoated implants) vs. 3939.09 mm-2 +/- 623.34 (Matrigel only) vs. 637.98 mm-2 + 176.85 (Matrigel and Etanercept). Implant-coating with Matrigel alone and Matrigel and Etanercept led to significantly higher vessel densities 7 and 14 days vs. 3 days after implantation and compared to uncoated implants. Mechanical implant integration as measured by dynamic breaking strength did not differ after 14 days. Conclusion: Our data show a reduced local inflammatory response to PPE implants after immunomodulatory coating with Etanercept in vivo, suggesting improved biocompatibility. Application of this tissue engineering approach is therefore warranted in models of a compromised host environment.

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