Effects of ionizing radiation and preservation on biomechanical properties of human costal cartilage
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Tissue banks around the world store human cartilage obtained from cadaveric donors for use in diverse reconstructive surgical procedures. To ensure this tissue is sterile at the time of distribution, tissues may be sterilized by ionizing radiation. In this work, we evaluate the physical changes in deep frozen costal cartilage (−70 °C) or costal cartilage preserved in high concentrations of glycerol (>98 %) followed by a terminal sterilization process using ionizing radiation, at 3 different doses (15, 25 and 50 kGy). Tension and compression tests were carried out to determine the mechanical changes related both to the different preservation methods and irradiation doses. For both methods of preservation, tension strength was increased by about 24 %, when cartilage tissue was irradiated with 15 kGy. Deep frozen samples, when irradiated with 25 or 50 kGy, had a decrease in their mechanical performance, albeit to a lesser extent than when tissues were preserved in high concentration of glycerol and equally irradiated. In conclusion, processing in high concentration of glycerol did not increase tissue protection against radiation damage; while cartilage preserved in high concentrations of glycerol withstands radiation up to 25 kGy, deep frozen human costal cartilage may be sterilized with a doses up to 50 kGy without significant mechanical impact.
KeywordsCartilage Biomechanical Tension Compression Radiosterilization Preservation
We would like to acknowledge the SVO for access to tissue donors and for the FAPESP for the financial support (grant no. 2008/10437-9).
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