Tendon and ligament: development, repair and disease

Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2005 Sep;75(3):226-36. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.20049.


Tendons and ligaments (T/L) are very similar fibrous tissues that respectively connect muscle to bone and bone to bone. They are comprised of fibroblasts that produce large amounts of extra-cellular matrix, resulting in a dense and hypocellular structure. The complex molecular organization of T/L, together with high water content, are responsible for their viscoelastic properties, hence insuring their mechanical function. We will first review recent work on tendon embryology and discuss ligament formation, which has been less documented. We will next summarize our current knowledge of T/L molecular architecture, alterations of which are a major cause for disease. We will finally focus on T/L repair after injury and on genetic diseases responsible for T/L defects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Connective Tissue
  • Culture Techniques
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligaments / embryology*
  • Ligaments / injuries
  • Ligaments / pathology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / pathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Synovial Fluid / metabolism
  • Tendon Injuries*
  • Tendons / embryology*
  • Tendons / pathology*
  • Tensile Strength
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Water / metabolism
  • Wound Healing


  • Transcription Factors
  • Water
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors