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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 115-121

Torn ACL: A New Bioengineered Substitute Brought from the Laboratory to the Knee Joint

Francine Goulet,1,2 Denis Rancourt,3 Réjean Cloutier,1,2 Pierrot Tremblay,1,2 Anne-Marie Belzil,1,2 Jean Lamontagne,1,2 Marc Bouchard,1,2 Julie Tremblay,1,2 Louis-Mathieu Stevens,1,2 Julie Labrosse,4 Eve Langelier,3 and Marc D. McKee4

1Laboratory of Tissue Engineering, Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus, Quebec, QC, Canada
2Department of Rehabilitation, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada
3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada
4Faculty of Dentistry, and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur at an annual rate of 120 000 in the USA, and many need reconstructive surgery. We report successful results at 1–13 months following implantation of bioengineered ACL (bACL) in goats. A bACL has been developed using autologous ACL cells, a collagen matrix and bone plugs. The extremities of the bACL were fully integrated into the femur and tibia of the host. Vascularisation of the grafts was extensive 1 month post-surgery and improved with time. At 6 months post-grafting, histological and ultrastructural observations demonstrated a highly organised ligamentous structure, rich in type I collagen fibres and fibroblasts. At the implants' insertion sites, characteristic fibrocartilage was observed having well aligned chondrocytes and collagen fibrils. After a year, mechanical rupture of the grafts demonstrated a major gain in strength. Eventual applications of this new technology in humans include multiple uses in orthopaedic, dental and reconstructive surgeries.