Repair of rotator cuff tears in experimental models has been significantly improved by the use of enhanced biologic approaches, including platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow aspirate, growth factor supplements, and cell- and gene-modified cell therapy. Despite added complexity, cell-based therapies form an important part of enhanced repair, and combinations of carrier vehicles, growth factors, and implanted cells provide the best opportunity for robust repair. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells provide a stimulus for repair in flexor tendons, but application in rotator cuff repair has not shown universally positive results. The use of scaffolds such as platelet-rich plasma, fibrin, and synthetic vehicles and the use of gene priming for stem cell differentiation and local anabolic and anti-inflammatory impact have both provided essential components for enhanced tendon and tendon-to-bone repair in rotator cuff disruption. Application of these research techniques in human rotator cuff injury has generally been limited to autologous platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow concentrate, or bone marrow aspirates combined with scaffold materials. Cultured mesenchymal progenitor therapy and gene-enhanced function have not yet reached clinical trials in humans. Research in several animal species indicates that the concept of gene-primed stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, combined with effective culture conditions, transduction with long-term integrating vectors carrying anabolic growth factors, and development of cells conditioned by use of RNA interference gene therapy to resist matrix metalloproteinase degradation, may constitute potential advances in rotator cuff repair. This review summarizes cell- and gene-enhanced cell research for tendon repair and provides future directions for rotator cuff repair using biologic composites.
Copyright © 2012 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.