• anterior cruciate ligament;
  • tissue engineering;
  • citric acid;
  • bone;
  • hydroxyapatite;
  • braid;
  • PLLA


Bone–patellar tendon–bone (BPTB) autografts are the gold standard for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction because the bony ends allow for superior healing and anchoring through bone-to-bone regeneration. However, the disadvantages of BPTB grafts include donor site morbidity and patellar rupture. In order to incorporate bone-to-bone healing without the risks associated with harvesting autogenous tissue, a biodegradable and synthetic tri-component graft was fabricated, consisting of porous poly(1,8-octanediol-co-citric acid)–hydroxyapatite nanocomposites (POC–HA) and poly(l-lactide) (PLL) braids. All regions of the tri-component graft were porous and the tensile properties were in the range of the native ACL. When these novel grafts were used to reconstruct the ACL of rabbits, all animals after 6 weeks were weight-bearing and showed good functionality. Histological assessment confirmed tissue infiltration throughout the entire scaffold and tissue ingrowth and interlocking within the bone tunnels, which is favourable for graft fixation. In conclusion, this pilot study suggests that a tri-component, biodegradable graft is a promising strategy to regenerate tissue types necessary for ACL tissue engineering, and provides a basis for developing an off-the-shelf graft for ACL repair. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.