Autologous mesenchymal stem cell-mediated repair of tendon

Tissue Eng. 1999 Jun;5(3):267-77. doi: 10.1089/ten.1999.5.267.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were isolated from bone marrow of 18 adult New Zealand White rabbits. These cells were culture expanded, suspended in type I collagen gel, and implanted into a surgically induced defect in the donor s right patellar tendon. A cell-free collagen gel was implanted into an identical control defect in the left patellar tendon. Repair tissues were evaluated biomechanically (n = 13) and histomorphometrically (n = 5) at 4 weeks after surgery. Compared to their matched controls, the MSC-mediated repair tissue demonstrated significant increases of 26% (p < 0.001), 18% (p < 0. 01), and 33% (p < 0.02) in maximum stress, modulus, and strain energy density, respectively. Qualitatively, there appeared to be minor improvements in the histological appearance of some of the MSC- mediated repairs, including increased number of tenocytes and larger and more mature-looking collagen fiber bundles. Morphometrically, however, there were no significant left-right differences in nuclear aspect ratio (shape) or nuclear alignment (orientation). Therefore, delivering a large number of mesenchymal stem cells to a wound site can significantly improve its biomechanical properties by only 4 weeks but produce no visible improvement in its microstructure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Transplantation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Mesoderm / cytology*
  • Patella / injuries
  • Rabbits
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tendon Injuries / physiopathology
  • Tendon Injuries / therapy*
  • Transplantation, Autologous