Mechanical Considerations for Electrospun Nanofibers in Tendon and Ligament Repair

David A. Brennan, Adriano A. Conte, Gregory Kanski, Stefan Turkula, Xiao Hu, Matthew T. Kleiner, Vince Beachley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Electrospun nanofibers possess unique qualities such as nanodiameter, high surface area to volume ratio, biomimetic architecture, and tunable chemical and electrical properties. Numerous studies have demonstrated the potential of nanofibrous architecture to direct cell morphology, migration, and more complex biological processes such as differentiation and extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition through topographical guidance cues. These advantages have created great interest in electrospun fibers for biomedical applications, including tendon and ligament repair. Electrospun nanofibers, despite their nanoscale size, generally exhibit poor mechanical properties compared to larger conventionally manufactured polymer fiber materials. This invites the question of what role electrospun polymer nanofibers can play in tendon and ligament repair applications that have both biological and mechanical requirements. At first glance, the strength and stiffness of electrospun nanofiber grafts appear to be too low to fill the rigorous loading conditions of these tissues. However, there are a number of strategies to enhance and tune the mechanical properties of electrospun nanofiber grafts. As researchers design the next-generation electrospun tendon and ligament grafts, it is critical to consider numerous physiologically relevant mechanical criteria and to evaluate graft mechanical performance in conditions and loading environments that reflect in vivo conditions and surgical fixation methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1701277
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 20 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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