Human Amniotic Membrane–Derived Products in Sports Medicine
Amniotic membrane (AM)–derived products have been successfully used in ophthalmology, plastic surgery, and wound care, but little is known about their potential applications in orthopaedic sports medicine.
To provide an updated review of the basic science and preclinical and clinical data supporting the use of AM-derived products and to review their current applications in sports medicine.
A systematic search of the literature was conducted using the Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases. The search term amniotic membrane was used alone and in conjunction with stem cell, orthopaedic, tissue engineering, scaffold, and sports medicine.
The search identified 6870 articles, 80 of which, after screening of the titles and abstracts, were considered relevant to this study. Fifty-five articles described the anatomy, basic science, and nonorthopaedic applications of AM-derived products. Twenty-five articles described preclinical and clinical trials of AM-derived products for orthopaedic sports medicine. Because the level of evidence obtained from this search was not adequate for systematic review or meta-analysis, a current concepts review on the anatomy, physiology, and clinical uses of AM-derived products is presented.
Amniotic membranes have many promising applications in sports medicine. They are a source of pluripotent cells, highly organized collagen, antifibrotic and anti-inflammatory cytokines, immunomodulators, and matrix proteins. These properties may make it beneficial when applied as tissue engineering scaffolds, improving tissue organization in healing, and treatment of the arthritic joint. The current body of evidence in sports medicine is heavily biased toward in vitro and animal studies, with little to no human clinical data. Nonetheless, 14 companies or distributors offer commercial AM products. The preparation and formulation of these products alter their biological and mechanical properties, and a thorough understanding of these differences will help guide the use of AM-derived products in sports medicine research.