Peritendinous adhesion is a major complication after tendon injury and the subsequent repairs or reconstructions. The degree of adhesion can be reduced by the interposition of a membranous barrier between the traumatized tendon and the surrounding tissue. In the present study, electrospun water-borne polyurethane (WPU) nanofibrous membranes (NFMs) were created for use after the reparation or reconstruction of tendons to reduce adhesion. In the electrospinning process, water was employed as the solvent for WPU, and this solvent was ecofriendly and nontoxic. The nanofibrous architecture and pore size of the WPU NFMs were analyzed. Their microporosity (0.78–1.05 µm) blocked the penetration of fibroblasts, which could result in adhesion and scarring around the tendon during healing. The release of WPU mimicked the lubrication effect of the synovial fluid produced by the synovium around the tendon. In vitro cell studies revealed that the WPU NFMs effectively reduced the number of fibroblasts that became attached and that there was no significant cytotoxicity. In vivo studies with the rabbit flexor tendon repair model revealed that WPU NFMs reduced the degree of peritendinous adhesion, as determined using a gross examination; a histological cross section evaluation; and measurements of the range of motion of interphalangeal joints (97.1 ± 14.7 and 79.0 ± 12.4 degrees in proximal and distal interphalangeal joints respectively), of the length of tendon excursion (11.6 ± 1.9 cm), and of the biomechanical properties.
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