Suspension of bone marrow-derived undifferentiated mesenchymal stromal cells for repair of superficial digital flexor tendon in race horses

Tissue Eng. 2007 Dec;13(12):2949-55. doi: 10.1089/ten.2007.0108.


It has been proven that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can differentiate into tenocytes. Attempts to repair tendon lesions have been performed, mainly using scaffold carriers in experimental settings. In this article, we describe the clinical use of undifferentiated MSCs in racehorses. Significant clinical recovery was achieved in 9 of 11 horses evaluated using ultrasound analysis and their ability to return to racing. Our results show that the suspension of a small number of undifferentiated MSCs may be sufficient to repair damaged tendons without the use of scaffold support. Ultrasound scanning showed that fibers were correctly oriented. By using undifferentiated cells, no ectopic bone deposition occurred. A sufficient number of cells was recovered for therapeutic purposes in all but 1 case. We suggest that the use of autologous MSCs is a safe therapeutic method for treating incompletely (i.e., not full-thickness) damaged tendons.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / methods*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / veterinary*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chondrocytes / pathology
  • Female
  • Horses / anatomy & histology
  • Horses / injuries*
  • Horses / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / veterinary*
  • Tendon Injuries / pathology
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery*
  • Tendon Injuries / veterinary*
  • Treatment Outcome