To evaluate the influence of type I collagen and hydroxyapatite coatings on the ability of Dacron fiber to achieve biologic fixation to bone, tows with the following coatings were evaluated in vivo: avian collagen (A); an avian collagen/ hydroxyapatite composite (AH); bovine tendon collagen (B); a bovine tendon collagen/hydroxyapatite composite (BH); and plain (uncoated) Dacron tow (C). The Dacron tows were placed unstressed in the cancellous bone of both lateral femoral condyles of rabbits. Tissue reaction to each kind of Dacron tow was evaluated histopathologically, histomorphometrically and biomechanically. Inflammatory reaction was apparent around the AH and BH Dacron fibers at 2 weeks. There was no such reaction in the A, B, and C specimens, thus implicating the hydroxyapatite particles as the cause. At later time periods specimens A, B, and C all induced new bone formation. Direct contact between the Dacron fibers and trabecular bone was apparent in A and B. The pull-out strength of the B fibers was higher than the controls at a statistically significant level, but there was no significant difference between any of the other specimens and C (controls). There was no significant difference between any coating and controls at 8 or 16 weeks. Dacron fibers coated with bovine tendon collagen exhibited the best biocompatibility to bone and improved the anchoring to bone in the early time intervals by maintaining direct contact between Dacron fibers and trabecular bone. It is hypothesized that the advantage of this coating disappeared by 16 weeks because the specimens were placed unstressed in bone.
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