Slit Guidance Ligand 3 (SLIT3) Loaded in Hydrogel Microparticles Enhances the Tendon-Bone Healing through Promotion of Type-H Vessel Formation: An Experimental Study in Mice

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Sep 4;24(17):13638. doi: 10.3390/ijms241713638.


Poor tendon-bone interface (TBI) integration is one of the major causes contributing to unsatisfactory healing quality in patients after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Type H vessels have been recently found to closely modulate bone formation via regulation of the osteo-angiogenic crosstalk, so the strategies favoring type H vessel formation may be promising therapeutic approaches for improved graft osteointegration. In this study, we reported for the first time the treatment outcome of slit guidance ligand 3 (slit3), a novel proangiogenic factor favoring type H vessel formation, in TBI healing in mice with ACL reconstruction. The mice (n = 87) were divided into three groups for various treatments: hydrogel microparticles (HMP, control group), slit3@HMP, and slit3 neutralizing antibody@HMP (slit3-AB@HMP). Histological analysis, gait performance, radiographic measurement, and biomechanical testing were performed to assess the TBI healing quality. Increased bony ingrowth and reduced fibrous scar tissue was formed at the TBI in the slit3@HMP group when compared to the HMP group. Meanwhile, the slit3-AB@HMP inhibited the osseous ingrowth and increased fibrous scar tissue formation relative to the HMP group. Compared to the HMP group, the slit3@HMP favored type H vessel formation at the TBI while the slit3-AB@HMP impeded it. According to micro-CT assessment, compared to the HMP group, the slit3@HMP significantly increased the peri-tunnel bone mass while the slit3-AB@HMP significantly reduced the peri-tunnel bone mass. The mice in the slit3@HMP group showed the best gait performance in terms of stance time, stride length, paw print area, and stance pressure. Dynamic laxity measurement and tensile testing showed the slit3@HMP group exhibited significantly reduced laxity displacement and improved failure load and stiffness relative to the other two groups. Collectively, the injection of slit3 could be used to enhance tendon-bone integration, which may be ascribed to modulation of angiogenesis-osteogenesis crosstalk coupled by type H vessels.

PMID:37686444 | PMC:PMC10488208 | DOI:10.3390/ijms241713638


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