The integration of osteochondral grafts to native articular cartilage is critical as the lack of graft integration may lead to continued tissue degradation, poor load transfer and inadequate nutrient transport. Photochemical bonding promotes graft integration by activating a photosensitizer at the interface via a light source and avoids negative effects associated with other bonding techniques. We hypothesized that the bond strength depends on photosensitizer type and concentration in addition to light exposure. Photochemical bonding was evaluated using methylene blue (MB), a cationic phenothiazine photosensitizer, and two phthalocyanine photosensitizers, Al(III) phthalocyanine chloride tetrasulfonic acid (CASPc) and aluminum phthalocyanine chloride (AlPc). Exposure was altered by varying irradiation time for a fixed irradiance or by varying irradiance with a fixed irradiation time. MB was ineffective at producing bonding at the range of concentrations tested while CASPc produced a peak twofold bond strength increase over controls. AlPc produced substantial bonding at all concentrations with a peak 3.9-fold bond strength increase over controls. Parametric tests revealed that bond strength depended primarily on the total energy delivered to the bonding site rather than the rate of light delivery or light irradiance. Bond strength persisted for 1 week of in-vitro culture, which warrants further exploration for clinical applications. These studies indicate that photochemical bonding is a viable strategy for enhancing articular cartilage graft integration. © 2018 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res.
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