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Biomaterials. 2013 Mar;34(8):2024-37. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.11.046. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Engineered scaffold-free tendon tissue produced by tendon-derived stem cells.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.


Most of the exogenous biomaterials for tendon repair have limitations including lower capacity for inducing cell proliferation and differentiation, poorer biocompatibility and remodeling potentials. To avoid these shortcomings, we intend to construct an engineered tendon by stem cells and growth factors without exogenous scaffolds. In this study, we produced an engineered scaffold-free tendon tissue (ESFTT) in vitro and investigated its potentials for neo-tendon formation and promoting tendon healing in vivo. The ESFTT, produced via tendon-derived stem cells (TDSCs) by treatment of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and ascorbic acid in vitro, was characterized by histology, qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry methods. After ESFTT implanted into the nude mouse, the in vivo fluorescence imaging, histology and immunohistochemistry examinations showed neo-tendon formation. In a rat patellar tendon window injury model, the histology, immunohistochemistry and biomechanical testing data indicated ESFTT could significantly promote tendon healing. In conclusion, this is a proof-of-concept study demonstrating that ESFTT could be a potentially new approach for tendon repair and regeneration.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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